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Petrol stations union said it was striking because of the losses suffered from being forced to purchase dollars on a parallel market.
Lebanese petrol stations will start Thursday a nationwide and indefinite strike, a union representing them announced Wednesday as the country is facing its worst social, economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The petrol stations union said it was striking because of the losses suffered from being forced to purchase dollars on a parallel market, state news agency NNA reported. Petrol stations must collect payments from customers in Lebanese pounds but pay private fuel importers in dollars.
The value of the Lebanese pound on the parallel market has dramatically decreased since the beginning of the crisis and is currently trading around 40 percent less than the official rate.
The central bank said last month that it would prioritize foreign currency reserves for fuel, medicine, and wheat, but buyers tapping the facility are still required to supply 15% of their own dollar needs.
Lebanon’s energy ministry sets guidelines for gasoline price levels. The ministry said it would test a state tender for gasoline next month after fuel distributors threatened to raise prices.
The Lebanese Economic Bodies, a private-sector group that includes industrialists and bankers, called off a separate three-day strike that was also to start Thursday, citing tough economic conditions and the need for employees to collect end-of-month salaries.
Lebanon has started sinking into a deep social and economic crisis in October when mass protests started to take place daily, with demonstrators demanding the removal of the whole ruling class seen as corrupt and incompetent. The crisis added to major flaws in the financial system and worsened a hard currency crunch that hit importers and raised fears of price hikes and shortages.
On the other hand, sectarian tensions and violence continue to rise since Sunday as the country went through its third night of clashes between party supporters and demonstrators, threatening to thwart a so far, largely peaceful protest movement.