Sun 05 Apr 2020

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Weak exchange rate causes stagnation in Aleppo countryside markets

Market in the city of Azaz - 5 May 2019 - (Enab Baladi)

Market in the city of Azaz - 5 May 2019 - (Enab Baladi)

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 Markets in the Aleppo countryside, particularly in the city of al-Bab, witness a remarkable stagnation due to the lack of trade movement after the exchange rate of the Syrian Pound fell against the US Dollar.

 Enab Baladi surveyed the opinions of several families and vendors in the city of al-Bab, about the movement of markets in the city, via “Shu Moshkeltak (What is Your Problem) program, which it broadcasts on its social media platforms every Monday and Friday.

According to Enab Baladi’s survey, the trade movement is almost absent in the markets due to the low exchange rate of the Syrian Pound against the Dollar, which led to the increase in most prices, such as fuel and essential food commodities.

The price of a bundle of bread loaves reached 200 SYP, while the price of a litre of diesel reached 450 SYP, and the gas cylinder arrived 8,000 SYP.

The high prices come at a time when there is a lack of job opportunities, as many families depend on money transfers from their relatives abroad, in addition to the assistance provided by relief organizations.

Citizens complain that traders link the prices of food commodities to the value of the US Dollar, which, in turn, led to higher costs of a large number of necessary supplies. They also wondered about linking the exchange rate to the prices of locally produced goods, such as vegetables.

For their part, many vendors confirmed to Enab Baladi that people’s purchasing demand is fragile, and it is almost non-existent for some commodities.

They justified that by the lack of job opportunities, which weakened citizens’ ability to buy goods.

The vendors pointed out that people are focusing on the necessary things, such as providing fuel for their families in the winter, rather than other commodities that have become considered unnecessary, such as clothing.

They estimated that sales decreased to about 70%, in the al-Bab city.

The sellers justified rising prices to the big dealer who sold them the product in US Dollars instead of the Syrian Pound.

The Syrian Pound is witnessing a decline in its value, as it reached the lowest levels in its history.

The exchange rate of the Syrian Pound against the US Dollar, on 29 January, was 1,030 SYP for purchase and 1,040 for sale, according to the “Liratoday website, specialized in currency exchange rates.

Since 19 January, bread loaves have been sold in some parts of the countryside of Aleppo in the Turkish Lira, such as the city of Azaz.

At that time, the local council in the city of Azaz said that its decision to use the Turkish currency was due to the instability of the exchange rate of the Syrian Pound against the US Dollar.

Solutions

Samer al-Muhammad, Director of Supply in the city of al-Bab, attributed the decline in the trade movement in the city to the lack of resources reaching the area.

He added that the lack of job opportunities is matched by a large number of unemployed people in the city, which leads to a decrease in purchasing movement, in addition to the many fluctuations in the exchange rate.

“We are unable to control the movement of the market, because most of the goods that enter the region depend on the exchange of the US Dollar,” said al-Muhammad, commenting on the solutions that the Supply Directorate in al-Bab could take to limit the process of prices rise,

According to al-Muhammad, as long as there are fluctuations in the exchange rate of the Syrian Pound, there will be no solution to the high prices.

The purchasing power index in the capital Damascus witnessed a significant drop, reaching 10.64 points, and the global site “Numbeo” ranked it very low.

According to a report issued by the United Nations at the beginning of March 2019, 80% of Syrians live below the poverty line.

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