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INFLATION

Central bank’s intervention in currency markets succeeds in curbing inflation numbers for February

In February, Lebanon’s consumer price index recorded its first monthly drop since October 2019, retreating 3.13 percent.

Central bank’s intervention in currency markets succeeds in curbing inflation numbers for February

Overall prices fell by 3.13 percent in February, according to the CPI. (Credit: AFP)

BEIRUT — In February, Lebanon’s consumer price index recorded its first monthly drop since October 2019, retreating 3.13 percent.

Here’s what we know:

    • For the 20th successive month, the CPI, which is published by the Central Administration of Statistics, recorded a triple-digit reading, at 214.59 percent. However, the increase is slightly below the number recorded in January — 239.68 percent.

    • The report shows that the largest monthly price declines were in the following categories: alcoholic beverages and tobacco, which fell by 15.16 percent; clothing and footwear, where prices decreased by 10.19 percent; and furnishing and household equipment prices, which were down 9.07 percent. The largest price rise was in the recreation and amusement category at 5.06 percent.

    • The US dollar-to-lira rate on the parallel market averaged LL20,900 in February — a 27 percent appreciation in comparison with January when the lira traded at an average of LL26,500 to the dollar.

    • The central bank’s intervention in the currency markets through Circular 161, released in the middle of December, is the main reason behind lira’s strength. In February alone, the Sayrafa platform recorded almost $1 billion in currency trades, at an average rate of LL20,500 to the US dollar. Circular 161 has been extended until the end of March.

    • During the month, the price of 20 liters of 95- and 98-octane gasoline increased by 2.38 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively and 20 liters of diesel increased 1.60 percent. The price of a cylinder of household gas remained unchanged.

   • February’s numbers do not fully reflect the impact from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, on the prices of commodities and especially the cost of energy.   


BEIRUT — In February, Lebanon’s consumer price index recorded its first monthly drop since October 2019, retreating 3.13 percent. Here’s what we know:    • For the 20th successive month, the CPI, which is published by the Central Administration of Statistics, recorded a triple-digit reading, at 214.59 percent. However, the increase is slightly below the number recorded in...