Lebanese Inflation hits record high as food prices soar 400%
February 12, 2021
A picture taken on 9 August 2020, shows a man stands next to graffiti at the damaged area following the Aug 4 massive explosion at Beirut’s port which destroyed Lebanon’s only grain silos , killed at least 2117 people , injured 6500 and left 300, 000 homeless after 2,750 Tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate Exploded . They were stored there for nearly 7 years. , reportedly for use by the Syrian regime in its barrel bombs against the civilians in Syria . The shipment was reportedly confiscated by Badri Daher a close supporter of President Michel Aoun and his son-in-law Gebran Bassil . The shipment arrived at a time when Syria was surrendering its chemical weapons to a UN backed organization for destruction . Aoun officially knew about the Ammonium Nitrate 2 weeks before the explosion but did nothing about it . He , along with his Hezbollah allies refused an international investigation but he promised a local investigation that will bring the culprits to justice in less than a week . Judge Fadi Sawan was appointed to investigate the explosion . He charged caretaker PM Hassan Diab , former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and former public works ministers Ghazi Zeaiter and Youssef Finianos with negligence over the explosion . The politicians behind the charged politicians attacked the judge and accused him of politicizing the issue. The investigation was halted for months and after it was reactivated Judge Sawan issued an arrest warrant for Finianos which prompted the court of sessation to remove the Judge t (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, Beirut, Lebanon
Lebanon’s annual inflation rate reached a record high and food prices soared by up to 400% in December, highlighting the dramatic impact on consumers and businesses of the country’s worst financial crisis in decades.
Annual inflation was 84.9% in 2020, compared to just 2.9% a year earlier, according to data released by the government’s Central Administration of Statistics on Thursday. It’s the highest since 2013, when the current readings began. Consumer prices jumped 145.8% in December versus the same month of 2019.
Breakdown of December price increases from a year earlier:
Food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 402.3%
Alcoholic beverages, tobacco up 392.5%
Clothing and footwear increased 559.8%
Restaurants and hotels rose 609%
Furnishings, household equipment and routine maintenance up 655.1%
Lebanon’s currency collapsed after political and financial crises escalated in 2019, with foreign currency inflows and the central bank’s reserves dwindling.
The official peg of 1,507.5 pounds per dollar only applies to imports of fuel and pharmaceuticals, with essential food items bought at a central bank-supported rate of 3,900 pounds. The Lebanese currency has reached 8,800 per dollar on the black market.
Aid talks with the International Monetary Fund have stalled after disputes with commercial lenders and the central bank, the country’s largest debt holders.
The government resigned in the aftermath of a massive explosion in Beirut in August, and has been running the country in a caretaker capacity as efforts to form a new administration have stalled. There has been little stimulus to save an economy that’s also been battered by a raft of measures to control a spike of coronavirus cases.