To inform humanitarian cash programming, REACH, in partnership with the Cash Working Group (CWG), conducts monthly Market Monitoring Exercises in northern Syria to assess the availability and prices of 36 basic commodities that are typically sold in markets and consumed by average Syrian households, including food and non-food items, water, fuel, and cellphone data.
Of these, 18 items comprise the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB; see below), which represents the minimum, culturally adjusted items required to support a 6-person household for a month.
Data collection took place between 4-11 January 2021 and was conducted by Care, Shafak, GOAL, People In Need, REACH, Syrian Association for Relief and Development (SARD),
Solidarités International and Violet.
The accompanying data is disseminated monthly and is distributed through partners across the humanitarian community. See REACH Resource Centre for the January 2021 data.
Coverage and data collection dates
In January 2021, REACH and partners covered 33 subdistricts and 2,639 individual shops in northwest Syria (NWS) for the Market Monitoring Exercise. In light of the fluctuation of the Syrian Pound (SYP)’s value and resulting market disruption, prices in the Market Monitoring dataset and output should be seen as representative only of the markets and dates where and when information was collected (4-11th January).
Highest northwest SMEB SYP cost recorded; SMEB USD cost slightly increased.
In January, the value of the regional Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) reached 322,441 SYP, a 14% increase compared to December and 44% long-term increase since July 2020, setting a new record for the highest ever recorded price in the Market Monitoring Exercise in NWS. The SMEB in United States Dollar (USD) increased from 105 USD in December to 113 USD in January alongside a depreciation of the SYP against the USD (see next paragraph).
Depreciation of the SYP against the USD
In January, the informal USD/SYP regional median exchange rate increased by 5% since December and reached a regional median of 2,840 USD/SYP. The six-month change, a 22% increase since July 2020, highlights that the value of the SYP remains an unstable currency against the USD. The highest exchange rate was recorded at 2,900 SYP to 1 USD in Afrin community in Aleppo governorate.
Fuel prices further increased
Overall prices for transport fuels increased by 9% between December and January, with a median price of 1,683 SYP per litre. Less expensive, manually refined fuels, including petrol and kerosene remained largely unavailable in NWS due to inaccessibility of raw material inputs and low levels of import for fuels refined in northeast Syria (NES). For example, 80% of surveyed fuel vendors reported that manually refined petrol was not available in their market at the time of data collection. With the significant unavailability of lower quality but less expensive fuels, prices for high quality diesel and petrol (largely European fuels imported via Turkey) continued increasing in January, driven both by increasing demand as well as by fluctuating exchange rates of both the SYP and the TRY against the USD.