BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's government has hiked natural gas prices by 12 percent as part of a deregulation of energy prices it agreed with lenders and the European Union.

The government said it was increasing gas from 53.5 lei to 60 lei per cubic meter on Wednesday, and gas prices will gradually continue to rise until 2021 as agreed with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the EU.

Most Romanians in urban areas uses natural gas for heating and cooking.

On Tuesday, the government increased the minimum monthly salary from 975 lei to 1,050 lei ($243 to $262), the second increase this year. Some 1.4 million earn the minimum wage.

The government also announced it would cut prices for some medicines for cardiovascular, digestive and rheumatologic conditions.

In June, Romania reduced the sales tax on food to 9 percent from 24 percent, leading to price cuts in some supermarkets.