Inflation Continues Soaring in Lebanon

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The Mediterranean Nation Recorded Triple-digit Rates Again in 2023

As the world grapples with economic uncertainties, Lebanon finds itself entrenched in a dire economic situation, marked by staggering inflation rates that continue to plague its citizens. According to recent data compiled by various sources including the World Bank and the Consultation & Research Institute in Lebanon, Lebanon’s inflation rate for 2023 remained alarmingly high, an astounding 222% on average for the year.

The economic turmoil since 2019 has transformed Lebanon’s once-stable economy into a continuous cycle of economic downturns, where the national currency holds little to no value. Food prices, a vital aspect of everyday life, soared by a staggering 208% compared to the previous year, exacerbating the plight of ordinary Lebanese citizens and refugees who struggle to make ends meet in the face of dwindling purchasing power.

Delving deeper into the numbers, the data reveal a stark reality. The inflation rate, in dollars, for the overall economy stood at 77% throughout the year, with the food sector bearing the brunt of the crisis, experiencing an inflation rate of 61%. Concurrently, the exchange rate inflated by 23%.

This economic turmoil has had devastating consequences for the average citizen, with pensions remaining stagnant while the value of the Lebanese pound and the dollar continue to decline. Wages, which have seen a nominal increase since 2018, fail to keep pace with the exponential rise in the exchange rate and dollarized inflation, leaving many earning less than a quarter of their pre-crisis income.

As the Lebanese lira undergoes drastic depreciation, people’s savings are being wiped out, pushing an estimated 80% of the Lebanese into poverty with 36% below the extreme poverty line. Some 90% of Syrian refugees in Lebanon cannot cover their basic needs.

While there was a slight reprieve towards the end of 2023, the overarching trend remains bleak. Exchange rate depreciation, particularly during the first half of the year, coupled with the rapid dollarization of economic transactions, continues to fuel inflationary pressures. Food inflation remains at alarming levels – it was 207% in December.

As Lebanon grapples with this economic turmoil, urgent and decisive measures are needed to alleviate the suffering of its citizens and steer the country toward stability. The situation is compounded by the ongoing conflict in the south, which has been escalating since October 2023, further exacerbating the economic challenges faced by the nation. Without concerted efforts from both domestic and international stakeholders to address the root causes of the crisis and mitigate its impact on the population, the specter of triple-digit inflation will continue to cast a long shadow over Lebanon’s economic future, deepening the hardship faced by its people.


How Anera is Helping

Anera has been responding to the escalating violence in the south by providing food, hygiene, and winter assistance to displaced families. Given the dire economic situation, Anera’s job skills programs have become increasingly important in recent years, as the vocational courses open new employment opportunities for young people in Lebanon.

And as in past years, Anera will also be providing food assistance during the month of Ramadan in 2024. The holy month falls in March and April this year, and we will be distributing food parcels and vouchers, to help alleviate hunger and offer solace to some of the most vulnerable families in the country. Your support is what makes these efforts possible.


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