Sugar price reaches 9,000, making a teapot costs 2,000 SYP

Selling sugar through the government subsidy card, known as the smart card, in regime-held areas. 2021 (Al-Watan newspaper)

Selling sugar through the government subsidy card, known as the smart card, in regime-held areas. 2021 (Al-Watan newspaper)


Enab Baladi – Yamen Moghrabi

The regime-held areas have witnessed a sharp rise in sugar prices since last week, affected by the massive low of the Syrian pound against the US dollar and the rise in the average cost of living for the Syrian family.

The price of a kilo of sugar in Damascus has exceeded 8,000 Syrian pounds, which is the unsubsidized price through the smart card by the regime government, amid the absence of any control by it over prices, according to what was monitored by Enab Baladi.

The rise in sugar prices is not the first since the beginning of the year. At the end of March, the price of one kilogram was recorded at 7,000 SYP, then it rose, during April, to 7,500 Syrian pounds, to rise again in early May, and it recorded a price of 8,500 SYP. While its price in 2022 ranged between 3,000 and 4,000 SYP.

One of the reasons, Syrian pound low

Mohamad Saeed, 40, works as a day laborer in the city of Daraa. He told Enab Baladi that a single pot of tea costs him 2,000 Syrian pounds, between the prices of tea and sugar, while his daily wage does not exceed 15,000 Syrian pounds.

Tea is one of the popular drinks that are widely consumed in Daraa, and currently, its consumption is limited to once a day with the high prices of sugar and tea.

Al-Watan newspaper, which is close to the Syrian regime, said on May 5 that the main reason for the rise in sugar prices is due to its “monopoly by merchants.”

Economic researcher Manaf Quman linked, in an interview with Enab Baladi, the recent rise in prices to the rise in the exchange rate of the US dollar against the Syrian pound, given that sugar is an imported substance whose price is calculated in dollars, not in pounds.

Quman said that sugar prices have witnessed a global rise in the recent period, while the global markets are witnessing ambiguity in the stability of supplies.

According to Nidal Maqsoud, Director of Prices at the Syrian Ministry of Internal Trade and Consumer Protection, which was reported by the local Athr Press website on May 8, the quantities of sugar decreased in the markets as a result of weak imports due to the global rise in the price of the same commodity.

During the past few days, the exchange rate of $1 reached 9,000 Syrian pounds, according to the S-P Today website, which specializes in currency exchange rates.

In addition to the two previous reasons, the absence of any governmental control by the Syrian regime, and excessive profiteering by importers, all of these factors naturally lead to a higher price for the consumer in the end, according to Quman.

The local B2B business website previously indicated, in a report published on May 6, that sugar has disappeared from the market in conjunction with a significant increase in its price. It also indicated in a second report, published on May 10, that the rise included the prices of vegetables and fruits by more than 2,000 percent for some products between 2018 and 2023.

For his part, economic researcher Dr. Firas Shaabo told Enab Baladi that the rise in sugar prices is linked to two points.

The first is the approaching jam-making season in Syria, which raises the demand for sugar, and merchants exploit this matter. The second point is the depreciation of the Syrian pound against the US dollar.

Sugar is missing in government institutions

Sugar is one of the foodstuffs included in the subsidy listed on the smart card, which has been approved since 2018 to distribute family allowances from subsidized commodities.

Abu Firas, 64, a retiree who lives in the capital, told Enab Baladi that the price of sugar on the smart card does not exceed 1,000 pounds. As for unsubsidized sugar sold by the General Consumer Corporation, its price is 7,500 pounds, while its price in groceries can amount to 9,000 Syrian pounds, if any.

In addition to Damascus, Enab Baladi monitored sugar prices in four other Syrian governorates, namely Daraa, Aleppo, Hama, and Homs. The price per kilogram exceeded 8,500 Syrian pounds in all of these governorates.

Nadia, a housewife from the central city of Homs, told Enab Baladi that her family is trying to reduce sugar consumption in the current period as much as possible after the huge increase in its price in the market, and she relies only on her allocations from the smart card.

The high prices led to a change in the behavioral habits of Nadia’s family, as they completely dispensed with making any kind of sweets, except for occasions such as weddings, and the use of sugar is limited to tea and coffee only.

Economic researcher Manaf Quman told Enab Baladi that the dramatic rise in sugar prices will have an impact on people, as it will become a burden on their shoulders.

Quman explained that sugar is a main ingredient on the Syrians’ tables, and its high price results in different economic behaviors in an attempt to adapt to the circumstances, such as relying on other products for sweetening instead of sugar or completely dispensing with it.

While the economic suffering of the Syrians is increasing, the merchants are getting richer by exploiting the current conditions, thus increasing their economic influence as well, according to Quman.

The government of the Syrian regime had already issued a decision on January 16 to allow the import of sugar from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Syria has owned several factories, and government institutions specialized in the production of sugar since the establishment of the General Organization for Sugar in 1975.

Factories and companies were distributed in the regions of Damascus, Aleppo, Raqqa, Deir Ezzor, Tal Salhab, Maskanah, and Sahl al-Ghab in the countryside of Hama, while the first sugar production Homs Sugar Company was established in 1946.

The sharp rise in sugar prices comes amid international reports about the difficult economic and living conditions of Syrians in general and in the areas controlled by the Syrian regime in particular.

According to a report published by the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on May 1, the number of Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance has reached 15.3 million, an increase of 5% compared to 2022.

The Syrian family, consisting of five members, needs four million Syrian pounds per month to cover its needs, according to the kassioun research center of the People’s Will Party in Damascus, in a report it issued last January.

Meanwhile, the Omran Center for Strategic Studies issued a study at the end of 2022, in which it said that the average costs of a Syrian family exceeded three and a half million Syrian pounds.

According to a report issued by the UN World Food Programme (WFP) last March, the average monthly wage in Syria covers a quarter of the food needs of a single family, while 12.1 million people suffer from food insecurity.


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