Lebanon’s economy ministry announced on Tuesday a bread price hike, the fourth in almost a year, a move the government blames on end of subsidies on sugar as declared by the Central Bank of Lebanon, amid a plunge in the value of the local currency.
The economy ministry announced that the price of 960 grams of bread would be set at 3,250 Lebanese pounds, up from 2,750 pounds, the state-run National News Agency reported.
The move means the price of bread has more than doubled since May last year, as the country grapples with an unrelenting economic and political crisis that predates the coronavirus pandemic.
In justifying the latest hike, the ministry pointed to the Central Bank’s end of subsidies on sugar, and to an ongoing failure to form a new government driving a “sharp fall in the Lebanese pound against the dollar”.
The pound is currently trading at about 14,000 to the dollar on the black market, compared with the official rate pegged at 1,507.
The consequent erosion of purchasing power has fanned anger in a population that has long viewed the ruling elite as irretrievably corrupt.
More than half the population lives in poverty, according to the UN.