AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan's Cabinet says electricity prices will be raised 15 percent for businesses as of next week to ease a budget deficit that compromises economic growth and swells inflation.

The Aug. 15 rise could spark protests, although the move will not hit citizens directly, unlike a sharp rise in fuel prices last November that ignited riots that left three dead.

Many Jordanians fear the long-expected hike will prompt factories to raise food prices, dealing another blow to low-income citizens.

The government says the rise — a step toward lifting many kinds of state subsidies by 2017 — will allow cash-strapped Jordan to maintain good standing for international borrowing.

A Cabinet statement Tuesday says electricity prices for high usage households will also rise by 15 percent on Jan. 1.