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Long-lasting unrest and economic sanctions drive up prices in Syria

Source : Reuters | 05 Jul 2013

Long-lasting unrest and recent Western economic sanctions on Syria have significantly driven up the prices of daily goods, analysts say.

In the country's capital of Damascus, food supplies are adequate in the market, but the prices have kept rising.

“Product prices before the crisis were less than one-third the current ones. That means the current prices are three times those before,” said a Damascus resident.

According to local vegetable sellers, the long-lasting unrest has damaged many agricultural products and blocked transportation, leading to prices rises.

In addition to rising food prices, the prices of many imported electronic products have also increased due to difficulty in transportation and the devaluation of the Syrian pound.

Since the break-out of the Syrian crisis, the Syrian pound has been devalued. Before, one U.S. dollar could be exchanged for 50 Syrian pounds, but now it can be exchanged for 200 Syrian pounds.

“The prices of all products here are rising because of the dollar, because we all import goods from other countries in the dollar,” said a mobile phone seller in Damascus.

Western countries have adopted a series of economic sanctions against Syria, including abandoning oil transportation, freezing Syria's foreign funds and banning any trading with Syrian banks in an effort to cripple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian economic analysts attributed the current rising prices to sanctions.

“Syria is suffering from both war and economic attacks. Many western countries are spearheading their attack against it,” said Ammar Yousef, a Syrian economic analyst.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday granted salary raises to state servants, military personnel and retired employees in order to combat the rising prices.

But with Western nations poised to implement further sanctions, no rebound is in sight for Syria's ailing economy.