Syria Country Office Market Price Monitoring Bulletin Issue 88, March 2022 – Syrian Arab Republic

Attachments

Strong points

  • In March, the national average price of the standard WFP reference food basket increased by 24 percent compared to February 2022, reaching SYP 286,757 (USD 114.7 at the official exchange rate of SYP 2,500/USD). This is the seventh consecutive month with the highest average price since monitoring began (2013).

  • The FAO’s World Food Price Index averaged a record high of 159.3 points in March 2022, up 12.6 percent from February 2022, when it had already hit its highest high level since its creation in 1990.

  • The minimum expenditure basket in Syria covering 28 items, including 20 food items, increased by 15.3% month-on-month and 44.2% since September 2021.

  • The conflict in Ukraine has further increased annual national inflation rates around the world. In March 2022, inflation in the United States was 8.5% (the highest rate since 1981), inflation in the euro zone was 7.5% (the highest rate on record) and the Turkey’s inflation was 61.1%.

  • In March 2022, the informal exchange rate of the Syrian pound weakened by 6%, reaching 3,848 SYP/USD. The informal exchange rate of the Syrian pound has depreciated by 50% since March 2021. The official exchange rate remains at 2,500 SYP/USD.

Standard food basket

In March 2022, the national average price of a standard reference food basket1 increased by 24% since February 2022, reaching SYP 286,757. The national average food basket price was 54% higher than in September 2021 (six months ago) and 59% higher than in March 2021 (Figure 1). March 2022 marked the highest average monthly benchmark food basket price on record since monitoring began in 2013, representing the seventh consecutive month with record price levels for the standard national average food basket price of reference.
On a month-to-month basis (mom), all 14 governorates recorded increases in their average benchmark food basket price in March. The increase is due to events in Ukraine which impacted global food prices.

Dar’a Governorate recorded the highest average monthly food basket price at SYP 306,983, up 26% m-o-m, while Al-Hasakeh remains the governorate with the lowest monthly average price at 246,354 SYP, up 17% month-on-month (Fig. 1). The highest increase for mothers was reported in AsSweida (by 35%), where the average price of the reference basket reached SYP 296,272, followed by a price increase for mothers of 29% in the governorates from Damascus, Hama, Lattakia and Quneitra. The lowest average increase for mothers was recorded in Tartous where the price of the reference food basket increased by 17 percent to reach SYP 279,255.

Year-on-year, the price of the reference food basket increased considerably in the 14 governorates. Damascus governorate recorded the largest increase (up 84%), while Idlib recorded the smallest increase (up 39%) – Chart 1

Jose C. Birney