July 21, 2018 / 3:55 PM / 2 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Egypt hikes gas prices by up to 75 pct in IMF-backed austerity plan

(In JULY 21 story corrects prices)

CAIRO, July 21 (Reuters) - Egypt said on Saturday it was raising the price of natural gas for home and commercial use by up to 75 percent, the latest move in an IMF-backed austerity programme that has left many Egyptians struggling to make ends meet.

The increases follow hikes to fuel, electricity and public transport prices that are part of a $12 billion IMF loan programme signed in 2016 that aims to lure back investors and lift the economy battered by political turmoil since 2011.

The government statement published in the Official Gazette said that, effective Aug. 1, the price for consuming up to 30 cubic metres of gas had been set at 1.75 Egyptian pounds ($0.0979) per cubic metre, up from 1.00 pounds.

The price for consuming between 30 and 60 cubic metres was set at 2.50 pounds, up from 1.75 pounds, while consumption of more than 60 cubic metres was set at 3.00 pounds from 2.25 pounds.

The statement did not specify the timeframes over which the consumption levels apply. But officials said they covered the usual billing period, which is monthly in Egypt.

Price hikes under the three-year IMF programme helped drive up Egypt’s annual urban consumer inflation rate to 14.4 percent in June. Analysts said the impact of cutting energy subsidies was feeding through to the broader economy faster than expected.

$1 = 17.8500 Egyptian pounds Reporting by Sami Aboudi and Momen Atallah Editing by John Stonestreet and Edmund Blair

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