Syrian Economy: Stock Market Paralyzed, Insane Poultry and Meat Prices

The USG Open Source Center translates or paraphrases Syrian news items on the economy of the war-torn country:

Syrian Economic Roundup 01 – 07 Apr 13
Syria — OSC Summary
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Document Type: OSC Summary

[Reports selected and rearranged by J.C.]

Al-Iqtisadi on 4 April cited the Damascus Chamber of Commerce, saying that the Damascus Stock Market has been “near standstill in the past few days.” According to the brief report, the chamber called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Syria to “restore citizens’ faith in the market.” (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Ba’th: on 1 April reported on the severe shortage of drinking water in the city of Al-Salamiyah in Hamah. The report indicated that the reasons for the shortage are not clear and that residents have reached a state of “disgust” with the excuses and reasons given to them by the water authority. (Damascus Al-Ba’th Online in Arabic — Website of the newspaper of the ruling Ba’th Party…

Al-Iqtisadi on 1 April reported on the “insane” price increases of meat and chicken. According to cattle farmers, the prices have been increasing “every day” over the past few months, and the increases were attributed to the shortage of live cattle, as well as the farmers’ abstinence from raising cattle and chicken due to increasing costs of fodder and veterinarian supplies. The report also highlighted the increasing prices of vegetables that are in season, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Iqtisadi: on 1 April cited Syrian merchants, saying that the Central Bank of Syria stopped funding imports of food, medicines, and other supplies “10 days ago,” resulting in these materials’ suspension in customs. The merchants argued that the Central Bank’s “surprise decision” to stop the funding of essential materials meant that they incur fines for not clearing them from customs, which in turn would increase their prices to consumers. The report indicated that this decision goes against the Central Bank’s continuous declaration that it continues to fund imports of basic materials. The report also highlighted the merchants’ concern that this decision would put many of them out of business due to incurred losses and the obstacles they would face. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Iqtisadi on 3 April highlighted reactions to the gasoline crisis and its prices in the black market. According to the report, citizens complained that the Consumer Protection Directorate had “created the gasoline crisis and expanded the effect of the black market.” The citizens made specific reference to the “greed” of public transportation drivers, arguing that the decision to increase g asoline prices “gave a major opportunity to taxi drivers to take advantage of citizens even more.” The citizens also complained about the lack of supervision and follow-up by relevant governmental entities, as well as the lack of punishment for violators. Additionally, the report highlighted complaints by owners of fuel stations, saying that their “suffering” comes from owners of fuel tank vehicles who ask for double the prices to transport the fuel. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Thawrah: on 2 April reported on the status non-performing debts for some banks in Syria in view of the ongoing crisis. According to the report, the Real Estate Bank has a total of 7.8 billion Syrian pounds (110.670 million US dollars) in debts, while the Industrial Bank has 4 billion Syrian pounds (56.754 million US dollars) in debts, and the Commercial Bank of Syria has a total of 12 billion Syrian pounds (170.262 million US dollars). (Al-Thawrah)

Al-Watan: on 7 April briefly reported on a study conducted by the Exports Development Commission, concluding that 2012 saw the highest decrease in imports, which is 87.4%, compared with 2011. (Al-Watan)

Al-Thawrah on 7 April reported that the Rif Dimashq Education Directorate … report indicated that damages incurred by the education sector in Rif Dimashq as a result of “acts of terrorism” reached more than 1 billion Syrian pounds (14.188 million US dollars). (Al-Thawrah)

Al-Iqtisadi: on 1 April reported on the prices of construction materials, saying that some have increased by “more than 200%,” particularly steel. The report also highlighted some peoples’ belief that the real estate construction market is “dead.” (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Iqtisadi on 3 April cited remarks made by the Syrian oil minister regarding the effect of the crisis on Syrian oil wells and incurred losses. According to the minister, nine oil wells were set on fire, three of which continue to burn while the rest were contained. The minister also spoke about transgressions against and stealing from oil wells. He indicated that losses have initially been estimated to be around 750,000 barrels. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Iqtisadi: on 1 April reported that the Public Company for Metal Industries incurred losses in the amount of 191.029 million Syrian pounds (2.710 million US dollars) in 2012. The report indicated that the Public Company failed to fulfill its production plan due to the unavailability of raw materials as a result of the ongoing crisis. The report indicated that the Public Company went out of business as of June 2012 and that all its production since then has been reliant on materials already in its warehouses. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Iqtisadi: on 1 April quoted Marwah al-Aytuni, a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber of Industry of Damascus and Rif Dimashq, criticizing the Syrian industrialists who moved their industries and businesses outside Syria as being “negative” and a “big mistake.” Al-Aytuni’s comments, according to the report, were a response to remarks made by the Egyptian minister of industry, indicating that dozens of Syrian factories have moved to Egypt. Al-Aytuni argued that “the homeland of that industrialist” should have the priority of those capitals and the Syrian labor should have the priority of employment. She further argued that Syrian industrialists “should have waited at least until the crisis has ended or until alternative solutions are found.” (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Watan: on 4 April reported on the meeting that was held between the Syrian minister of social affairs and the World Food Organization, during which agreement was reached to distribute 200,000 food baskets. The meeting also viewed the increasing number of internally displaced persons and refugees and the difficulty of providing assistance due to the tense and unsafe conditions. (Damascus Al-Watan Online in Arabic — Website of the independent daily, al-Watan

Al-Iqtisadi: on 4 April highlighted the approval of the Reconstruction Committee to establish temporary refugee centers to accommodate 10,000 people in the industrial cities of Adra and Hasya. The report also highlighted the committee’s approval to transfer 1 billion Syrian pounds (14.188 million US dollars) in compensations to citizens for damages incurred by the crisis. A similar report featured in Al-Watan on 4 April focused on remarks made by Engineer Umar Ghalawinji, the minister of local management, saying that these centers will host displaced Syrian families from inside and outside Syria, adding that his ministry is currently working on the return of the displaced families from Jordan in the next few months. ( Al-Iqtisadi Online in Arabic — Website of the bi-weekly economic magazine Al-Iqtisadi carrying unique reports on domestic economic issues, vocal on government’s economic policies and corruption; and (Al-Watan)

Al-Watan on 7 April reported on the new method of distribution that the Consumer Society has adopted for rice and sugar after the severe congestion it saw at some of its branches. According to the report, the new method entails the cooperation of the Consumer Society with civil societies and parties to undertake the distribution to citizens. (Al-Watan)

Al-Iqtisadi on 4 April cited the director of the Public Company for Bakeries, saying that total losses incurred by the Company and its branches registered 250 million Syrian pounds (3.547 million Syrian pounds). The report cited the director’s remarks about the new production lines that have been installed in safe areas, as well as the three new production lines that are being tested and will go into operation next week in Dayr Atiyah, Jayr ud, and Jaramanah. He also denied that there is “any bread crisis” and emphasized the availability of all bread production materials. (Al-Iqtisadi)

l-Iqtisadi on 2 April cited the assistant to the minister of agriculture, saying that the prices of chicken continued to decrease, registering 195 Syrian pounds (2.76 US dollars) per kilogram, as opposed to the previous 240 Syrian pounds (3.40 US dollars). According to the assistant, the price decrease was attributed to improved weather conditions and the reduced reliance on diesel for heating purposes. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Al-Thawrah on 2 April reported on the work of the committee that was specifically formed to examine the possibility and needs of turning the agricultural airport of Tartus into a civilian airport. (Al-Thawrah)

Al-Iqtisadi on 1 April cited the minister of economy and foreign trade, saying that his ministry will be issuing a decision permitting the import of “limited quantities” of frozen chicken. The minister explained that the imported chicken meat will be sold at half its cost and will not harm the profitability or production of local farmers and producers. He also explained that chicken production areas in Syria, which are located in Al-Qalamun, Dar’a, Idlib, Homs, and Hamah, are undergoing “exceptional circumstances” that brought harm to nearly 70% of the chicken farms, consequently affecting the production and supply of local chicken. (Al-Iqtisadi)

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses | Print |

2 Responses

  1. what would be involved in turning an agricultural airport into a civilian airport ?
    What does that even mean ?

  2. Dear Professor Cole

    The reference to Al Salamiyah is toubling. As you know Salamiyah is the cente of the Ismaeli community in Syria, and as such is exposed to the Jihadi threat to minorities.

    They have taken in many refugees from Hama. It would be a tragedy if their water supply was cut off.

    link to

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