BEIRUT — Gasoline prices increased on Monday after Banque du Liban lowered the ratio at which it subsidizes fuel through its Sayrafa exchange platform. A BDL spokesperson told L’Orient Today that BDL has not dollarized the fuel yet, or fully lifted subsidies.
Here’s what we know:
• The payment ratio for fuel imports has gradually fallen in recent weeks. Until Monday, payments for fuel imports could be made by paying 55 percent at the subsidized Sayrafa rate (LL27,200 to the dollar) and the remainder at the parallel market rate (around LL32,000 LL to the dollar). As of Monday, those payments are now only 40 percent subsidized.
• “It is clear that the BDL is moving towards a definitive cessation of the subsidies via the Sayrafa platform,” George Brax, a spokesperson for the Gas Station Owners’ Syndicate, said in a statement on Monday, adding that he feared the subsidies would soon be removed completely.
• The “timing and details” of such a decision are in the hands of the central bank, Brax concluded.
• BDL released a statement on Thursday saying that some news websites have claimed that BDL fully dollarized fuel prices, calling the reports “fake news.” A BDL spokesperson confirmed to L’Orient Today that the prices had not been fully dollarized.