BEIRUT — The Economy Ministry released new bread prices Wednesday evening, as Arabic bread shortages persisted in supermarkets and bakeries for a second day. Speaking to L’Orient Today, bakery owners’ syndicate head Ali Ibrahim attributed the lack of bread on shop shelves to “panic-buying, not wheat and flour shortages.”
Here’s what we know:
• The Economy Ministry announced in a statement that a large bread bundle, the minimum weight of which has decreased from 875 grams to reach 835 grams, will sell for LL10,000 in bakeries, a per-gram price increase of 31 percent. The small bundle meanwhile will still sell for LL6,000 in bakeries for a minimum weight of 345 grams — a 40 gram decrease — constituting a per-gram price increase of 30 percent. A family-size bundle of bread will still be sold in bakeries at LL12,000 but will have a minimum weight of 1,050 grams, as opposed to its previous weight of 1,095 grams.
• Bread prices in supermarkets were not released in the ministry’s latest statement.
• On Wednesday several supermarkets in Beirut told L’Orient Today that their arabic bread bundles had been depleted, some assuring that they would restock Thursday while others anticipated a precarity in supply. Smaller grocers said that bakeries were refusing to fulfill orders for more than 10 bundles, while larger supermarket chains had gotten a greater quantity.
• “There isn’t a crisis, people are panic buying and this is leading to the shortages in bread across the country,” Ibrahim told L’Orient Today. Ibrahim also affirmed the availability of “sufficient wheat and flour to sustain the country for over a month.”
• Yesterday, the head of the Bakery Owners Union in Mount Lebanon Antoine Seif warned about potential issues in bread availability, noting invoice backlogs from Banque du Liban, which subsidizes wheat and flour imports. Ibrahim echoed Seif’s comments, saying bread might become exclusively available in bakeries due to flour shortages.