BEIRUT – Lebanese fuel prices are expected to climb sharply after the government decided to raise the exchange rate used to price it to 8,000 pounds to the dollar from the previous level of 3,900, officials said, in a bid to ease crippling fuel shortages.
Central bank governor Riad Salameh told Reuters the bank’s Sayrafa platform would provide dollars for fuel imports at its market rate, which was 16,500 on Friday, a little below the parallel market rate of around 19,000.
He said the difference between the Sayrafa rate and the 8,000 level would be a loss to be carried by the government.
A statement issued after a meeting between Salameh, President Michel Aoun and other government officials said the central bank will be opening a temporary account up to a maximum of $225 million until the end of September to cover the subsidy.
The move was to cover “urgent and exception subsidy” for gasoline, fuel oil and cooking gas, it said.