Lebanon families spend 5 times minimum wage on food alone, says study

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  • Lebanon is battling what the World Bank has called one of the planet’s worst financial crises since the 1850s

  • It has reportedly driven more than half the population below the poverty line

A study by the Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut has said families in crisis-hit Lebanon are now spending five times the minimum wage on food alone.

Local reports quoted the observatory as saying that this was amid the soaring inflation caused by the country’s worst-ever economic crisis.

The country is battling what the World Bank has called one of the planet’s worst financial crises since the 1850s. It has reportedly driven more than half the population below the poverty line.

Meanwhile, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value to the dollar on the black market since 2019.

This has deeply devalued salaries in the local currency, and as a result purchasing power has plummeted.

The observatory., referring to the latest prices in July, said that a family’s budget just for food “is around five times the minimum wage,” which now stands at 675,000 Lebanese pounds.

A family of five was spending more than 3.5 million Lebanese pounds a month on food alone, it estimated. And this calculation had not taken into account the additional cost of water, electricity, or cooking gas.

The minimum wage was once worth almost 450 dollars at the official exchange rate, but today fetches barely 30 dollars on the black market.

The observatory said the cost of food has soared by 700% over the past two years, and this increase picked up pace in recent weeks. “The price of a basic food basket increased by more than 50% in less than a month,” it said.

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