International

Lebanon faces nationwide petrol workers’ strike amid economic crisis

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Petrol stations in Lebanon will begin an open-ended strike on Thursday nationwide, a union representative said on Wednesday amid the country's worst economic crisis in decades.

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Protests since Oct. 17 have pulled Lebanon deeper into economic crisis, worsening a hard currency crunch that has hit importers and raised fears of price hikes and shortages.

In a statement carried on state news agency NNA, the petrol stations union said it was striking because of losses incurred from being forced to purchase dollars on a parallel market, the primary source of hard currency in economic hard times.

Petrol stations must collect payments from customers in Lebanese pounds but pay private fuel importers in dollars.

The cost of dollars on the parallel market has surged since the start of protests, hovering currently at about 40% more than the official pegged rate, set at 1507.5 Lebanese pounds since 1997.

There were queues at some petrol stations in Beirut late on Wednesday but the situation remained relatively calm.

The central bank said last month that it would prioritise foreign currency reserves for fuel, medicine and wheat, but buyers tapping the fRead More – Source