Inflation of Prices in the Markets of Damascus:

Damascus and other Syrian cities have witnessed inflation of prices of foodstuff, garments and other imported goods and stuff because of the dramatic changes of the US dollar.

Syria Times’ reporters took a tour in the Damascene markets and reported traders, sellers and ordinary people’s reactions and comments.

[Fadi and Ahmed spend their day arguing and dealing with buyers in Nahir Eisha Market southern Damascus]

Fadi and Ahmed, two friends, run a nice foodstuff store in Nahir Eisha Market, where working class and governmental employees’ families live.

“ I don’t know what to do and what to say. Really, I am confused with the changing prices. A few days ago, the prices changed from morning to noon to evening. Today, the prices are stable and some foodstuff prices have decreased such as sugar and rice. Buyers have the right to be surprised but what can I do if the traders increase their prices while I only add 10 to 20% to make some profit to support my family and pay the monthly rent of my store,”  Ahmed said, while arguing with buyers about the new high prices.

“ Most of traders closed their stores and stopped selling because they don’t know how to price their stuff. I went to Souq al-Hal, Damascus’ main market, to buy some foodstuff but I was surprised with the new prices. Ahmed and I decided to sell everything  in the shop and not buy any new stuff till prices become stable,” Fadi said with his smiley face.

50 meters from the shop, there were dozens of men, women, girls and children all waiting in queues to buy their bread from the bakery. Each family can get 4 bags of bread (each bag has 7 loaves of bread with 50 SP for it).

The Syrian government subsidizes the price of bread and considers it a redline. This harvest season, the government increased the purchase price from farmers from 225 SP to 400 SP for each kilo of wheat. This increased what  the Syrian government is paying in subsidies to 400 billion SP.

[The Ghassan Bakery in Nahir Eisha Market]

“Bread is the only thing that keeps its price. I and most poor families depend on the government subsidized bread. I bought 4 bags of bread everyday with only 200 SP while the one kilo of rice reached to 2000 SP. Bread has become the basic food for my family. I hope that the Syrian government keeps its price and doesn’t change it. The American and European sanctions put more pressures on the government to import wheat and flour from Russia, Ukraine and other states. It is a hard time but I expect harder times,” Abu Anas, 50-year-old, governmental employee said to Syria Times.

[Shops in Nahir Esha Market ]

There are many buyers and people walking in the market asking about the prices, some of them buy and others keep walking with surprised looks on their faces.

Um Mohammad, 55-year-old, a mother of four children said that she has only 2000 SP and she doesn’t know what to buy to make lunch for her husband, who only makes 3000 SP a day from his work in a private factory, and for her children who are asking her for chicken and lamb meat.

“How can I buy chicken if the smallest one costs 5000 SP and one kilo of lamb meat is 16000 SP,” Um Mohammad said with a shy face.

I am telling my children that the chicken and lamb meat shops are closed. I cannot tell them I don’t have enough money. They are children and don’t understand what is going on in inflation of prices.”

[ Ordinary Buyers in Nahir Esha Market]

Syria Times then moved from Nahir Eisha market to Salhieh Market, close to the Parliament HQ’s in Damascus downtown.

[famous garment shops in Salhieh Market]

            

A Damascene seller who works in a shoe shop in Salhieh Market said that he didn’t change the prices of his shoes although the prices of imported raw materials and genuine leather increased in the last few days to a very high level.

“ I have retained the price of these shoes which estimate at 35.000 SP although it costs double , about 65000 SP. I didn’t change the price. I am selling with very low prices,” the seller said.

A 55-year-old governmental employee, who was listening to  what the seller said, confirmed that the price of these same  shoes was 25000 a week ago and the seller increased the price 10.000 SP just in a week.

“My monthly salary is 60000 SP which is enough to buy only one pair of shoes. I cannot buy two pairs. It is a Syrian -made pair of shoes with 35000 SP. It is so expensive that I cannot buy it.”

Abu Mohammad,  a 45-year-old runs a women garment shop in Salhieh Market said that this Eid and Summer season is very bad and he couldn’t cover his daily expenses.

“Yesterday, I sold only two pieces of female garment. I need  to make daily from 50 to 60 thousands to cover  expenses. I cannot cover my expenses under these hard situations. Every Summer season, there are Iraqi, Lebanese and Jordanian tourists who come to this Market to buy their garments. They like the Syrian made female garments which meet their demand. The banned travel measures of Corona pandemic have  badly affected the Syrian markets. The Syrian buyers don’t  have enough money to buy this garment. The American and European sanctions scared the Chinese, Indian and Indonesian shipping industry and insurance companies from sending their textile, goods and garments to Syria. This increased the cost of production which increased the prices too much.” 

[ Photos from Salhieh Market]

[ Photos from Salhieh Market]

“Some big shops and stores were closed and others open for half-day. There are walkers in the streets but no buyers. It is noon time and I didn’t sell any piece of garments till now,” Abu Mohammad said.

“I hope the coming days will be better and overcome this economic crisis. America is led by ( US President Donald ) Trump who is a businessman and the Syrian government should think and behave also with a businessman’s mentality to face the Trump Administration’s plots and sanctions.”

[ Photos from Salhieh Market]

[ Photos from Salhieh Market]

End.

 

Written by: Obaida Hamad / Inas Abdulkareem

Photos by: Obaida Hamad 

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