Speaking to a radio station loyal to the Assad regime, economist Ammar Youssef said that needy Syrian households of five people need 3 million Syrian pounds a month for food and drink, according to his estimates. He discussed the repercussions of the decision to raise fuel prices yet again.
Households had sold valuables and spent savings to continue eating and drinking, in light of the constant and unreasonable price rises, as well as the lack of government measures. He argued that this would be a truly valuable resource for mitigating the crisis, through liquidity, loans, facilities, and economic decisions.
On the rise of food prices, which increased under the pretext of sanctions and the Caesar Act, Youssef indicated that the regime knows the sanctions do not apply to these products. Even the import of wheat from America is possible under the sanctions regime. He revealed that raising the price of gasoline will have a reflection on the prices of materials conveyed by freight, by 30-40 percent.
According to local radio, citizens are trying to sell their properties and replace them with slum housing, taking advantage of price differences and gaining liquidity. This strategy also allows them to escape the real estate sales tax that destroyed the property market in Syria.
He added that some traders and industrialists have resorted to closing their facilities to avoid losses. Furthermore, there are citizens who do not have sufficient salaries to live, which is reflected in mental health impact. This seems clear from the suicide rate. And if we continue in this situation we will go beyond the abyss. We have passed through stages of stagnation and recession, entering another stage called the “Syrian phase.”
Youssef noted that the real estate problem in Syria is not high prices, and what is happening is not stagnation. Instead, the problem is a collapse of purchasing power as a result of low liquidity. Indeed, the central bank’s actions led to the stabilization of the exchange rate yet, on the other hand, caused the collapse of the Syrian pound’s purchasing power.
Shafiq Arbash, a pro-Assad economist and former official of the Central Bureau of Statistics, made media statements quoted by a pro-regime newspaper. The statements said that 2021 was the year of price hikes, as citizens witnessed only decisions to increase prices. He expected the poverty rate to exceed 90 percent in Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.