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Syria devalues currency for second time in under four months amid worsening economy

January 4, 2023 at 5:34 pm

Vehicles drive along the roundabout past the Central bank of Syria in the capital Damascus’ Sabaa Bahrat Square on June 17, 2020 [LOUAI BESHARA / AFP via Getty Images]

The Syrian regime, on Monday, devalued its currency for the second time in under four months, as the country’s economic situation continues to drastically deteriorate.

In a statement on Monday, Syria’s Central Bank lowered the official exchange rate to 4,522 Syrian pounds against the US dollar, down from the previous official rate of 3,015 pounds to the dollar.

The devaluation is the second in less than four months after the Central Bank weakened the national currency to that rate from 2,814 pounds to against the dollar in September. Meanwhile, the dollar reportedly remains traded on the black market for around 6,500 Syrian pounds.

READ: Syria faces ‘acute violence’ and worst economic crisis

Since the outbreak of civil war in the country over a decade ago, Syria’s currency has declined enormously, especially as traders and citizens prioritised the US dollar to the Syrian pound in order to protect their savings from falling exchange rates.

Despite the fact that the war has largely abated as the regime of Bashar Al-Assad has recaptured most of the country with the assistance of Russia and Iran, that steep economic decline continues due to a myriad of other factors including widespread internal corruption, Western sanctions and political and economic collapse in neighbouring Lebanon.

While average Syrian citizens bear the brunt of the dire economic situation and increased poverty rate of at least 90 per cent of the country, the political and business elite – circumventing sanctions and economic hardship primarily by benefitting from shell companies worldwide – continue to live in luxury and regularly boast of their lavish parties and abundant food supplies on social media.

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