person putting gasoline on a vehicle
Photo by Erik Mclean on

France will lift a ban on below-cost sales to bring down fuel prices, Finance and Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday, hoping to soothe consumers' inflation anxieties.

With a draft law set for debate in October, "I hope it will come into force from the beginning of December," Le Maire told broadcaster France 2.

Selling products at a loss has been mostly banned in France since 1963, over fears larger retailers could drive small competitors out of business by offering artificially low prices whose costs they could afford to absorb.

But Paris is extremely sensitive to discontent over rising fuel costs as prices soar — remembering the massive and sometimes violent "Yellow Vests" protests sparked by a planned new fuel tax in 2018-19.

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