Tunisia raises fuel prices for second time in a month

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A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at a gas station in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2018. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

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TUNIS, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Tunisia has raised fuel prices by about 3% for the second time in a month due to a sharp rise in oil prices, in an effort to rein in its budget deficit, the Energy Ministry said on Monday.

The North Africa country, suffering from its worst financial crisis, is trying to agree on a new financing program with the International Monetary Fund.

The price of a litre of gasoline will rise on Tuesday to 2.220 Tunisian dinars ($0.76 cent) from 2.155, the ministry said in a statement.

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Tunisia, which subsidises domestic fuel prices, said it will launch a package of economic reforms aimed at reducing spending as it seeks foreign rescue package to help it avert a looming crisis in its public finances.

Sharply rising oil prices due to the crisis in Ukraine will have "major effects on public finances", a government official told Reuters this week.

The energy ministry said each increase of one dollar in the price Tunisia had to pay for hydrocarbons would cost the state 140 million dinars ($48 million).

The 2022 budget is based on an average oil price of $75 a barrel, so higher purchasing costs could widen the forecast fiscal deficit already equivalent to 6.7% of the economy.

($1 = 2.9050 Tunisian dinars)

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Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell

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