Prices of diesel stoves, electric heaters double in Qamishli
Al-Hasakah – Majd al-Salem
“Imagine that buying a diesel stove and its accessories requires planning and saving money months before the purchase decision, similar to buying a car or a house, Abdul-Salam al-Hussein said sarcastically; such a situation reflects how the living conditions have been difficult, and things are constantly deteriorating.”
The 42-year-old man was able to save the price of a diesel stove and its accessories by saving sums over the course of months of his work in a restaurant in the northeastern city of Qamishli with a daily wage of up to 20,000 Syrian pounds.
The prices of heating stoves doubled compared to last year in the cities of Qamishli and al-Hasakah, according to a tour by Enab Baladi in commercial stores.
The soar in prices before the winter season has turned into an obstacle for residents who seek to ward off the cold, especially for poor and low-income families.
Al-Hussein told Enab Baladi that he bought a medium-sized diesel stove for 600,000 Syrian pounds after visiting several stores.
He intended to buy a larger heater, but the high price made him accept a smaller size. He also bought five tin tubes at a price of 25,000 pounds each, pointing out that their price last year was 10,000 pounds.
With the advent of cold December, stores selling various types of heating tools spread, and trade in them becomes profitable.
Mohammad Anwar, 45, who owns a stove store, told Enab Baladi that the demand for new stoves is still weak compared to previous years, suggesting that he will not be able to sell the quantity he bought this year if sales remain weak.
Anwar added that prices are high this year and vary depending on the type and size of the stove, and that the cheapest diesel stove costs about 500,000 Syrian pounds, and the price of some heaters reaches two million pounds ($138).
Most of the stove equipment is locally made (limited to making tin tubes and their accessories) or imported from regime-controlled areas.
The prices of Olmar fireplaces range between $400 and $600 (between 5.5 and 8.5 million Syrian pounds), and they are not sold in large quantities due to their very high price and their need for high-quality diesel.
The US dollar is trading at 13,950 SYP according to the S-P Today website, which covers the trading rate of the Syrian pound to the dollar. At the start of the conflict in 2011, the dollar was trading at 47 pounds.
Electric stoves are not a practical solution
Nawaf al-Khalil, owner of an electrical appliances store, said that the prices of heaters that operate on electricity rose due to the price being linked to the value of the dollar, as most of them are imported from Turkey.
He pointed out that there is little demand in the town of al-Qahtaniyah, and they are suitable for offices and commercial stores and are not usually useful inside big residential apartments.
Al-Khalil added to Enab Baladi that the prices of heaters ranged between 200,000 and 500,000 Syrian pounds, depending on the type, size, and capacity.
The problem of the long power outage prevents us from benefiting from electric heaters, as some of them require three amperes to operate. For that, the electric heaters seem like an impractical alternative solution because the price of subscribing to private power generators has become 15,000 Syrian pounds, according to al-Khalil.
Syrian pound, Shipping costs
According to merchants interviewed by Enab Baladi, the rise in the prices of diesel stoves is due to the deterioration in the value of the Syrian pound and the rise in the cost of manufacturing as a result of the high cost of raw materials and labor costs.
Prices vary according to the brand and quality of materials used, as well as energy costs and workers’ wages in heater manufacturing workshops.
Adnan Mohammad, 31, the owner of an Inter-freight car from Qamishli, told Enab Baladi that freight prices have doubled greatly, especially after the decision to increase fuel prices.
Mohhamad explained that the shipment whose transportation cost was 1 million pounds became 2.5 million pounds, and this applies to shipping and transporting heaters of various types, whether from the Semalka crossing (goods imported from Turkey through the northern Iraqi region) or from regime-controlled areas.
In mid-July 2023, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) raised fuel prices, and the price of a liter of diesel intended for vehicles rose from 525 to 2,300 Syrian pounds, and the price of a liter of un-subsidized diesel rose from 1,700 to 4,600 Syrian pounds.
As a result of these prices, many residents resorted to maintaining their old stoves or buying used stoves from the scrap market.
The prices of used diesel stoves ranged between 100,000 and 300,000 pounds, depending on the size and technical condition, according to Enab Baladi’s correspondent who visited the scrap shops.
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