Food prices in Lebanon have climbed by over 50% in less than a month, a new report by the American University of Beirut’s Crisis Observatory indicates.
According to the report, the rapid increase in the prices of essential commodities and food items in Lebanon is an indicator that the country is beginning to slip into hyperinflation.
Since July 2019, the prices of 10 food products have increased by more than 700%. These products include vegetables, grains, beef, eggs, oil, and dairy products.
“Even Arabic bread, which is supposed to be subsidized through the subsidy of the wheat and flour import at the official exchange rate, its price has risen by 233 percent since May 2020,” the report notes.
Based on the prices of foodstuffs in the first half of July 2021, the minimum monthly cost of food for a family of five has now exceeded 3,500,000 Lebanese pounds, which excludes the soaring costs of water, gas, and electricity, according to the report.
“Based on these estimates, we can preliminarily estimate that a household’s budget for securing its food alone is about five times the minimum wage.”
“The vast majority of families in Lebanon will find it difficult to secure their minimum required livelihood without family or domestic support, or without the assistance of relief institutions,” the Crisis Observatory report notes.
The accelerating inflation is linked to the devaluation of the Lebanese pound, which has lost more than 90% of its value in less than two years. The inflation is expected to continue with the projected additional decline in the Lebanese pound’s value in the coming months.
Citing “the absence of responsible political action,” the “suspicious” slowdown in the launch of the cash card, the failure to develop a rescue and recovery plan, and the continuation of increasing the size of the monetary mass in Lebanese pounds “in an unprecedented and uncontrolled manner,” the report predicts that Lebanon could soon turn into “the Venezuela of the Mediterranean.”