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 7-14 December 2020 and was conducted by REACH, GOAL, People In Need, Violet and Solidarités International.
The accompanying data is disseminated monthly and is distributed through partners across the humanitarian community. See REACH Resource Centre for the December 2020 data.
Coverage and data collection dates
In December 2020, REACH and partners covered 29 sub-districts and 2,192 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 (7-14 December).
Highest northwest SMEB SYP cost recorded; SMEB USD cost slightly decreased
In December, the value of the regional SMEB reached 282,716 SYP, an 11% increase from November and a 24% increase since June 2020, setting a new record for the highest ever recorded price in the Market Monitoring Exercise in NWS. The SMEB in United States Dollars (USD) decreased from 107 to 105 USD in December as the SYP lost value against the USD (see next paragraph).
Slight depreciation of the SYP against the USD
In December, the informal USD/SYP regional median exchange rate increased by 13% since November and reached a regional median of 2,694 USD/SYP. The sixmonth change, a 3% increase since the record drop in value of the SYP in June 2020, highlights that while the value of the SYP has slightly stabilized in the months since, it remains unstable against the USD. The highest exchange rate was recorded at 2,750 SYP to 1 USD in Azmarin community in Idleb governorate.
Fuel prices further increased; manually refined fuels remained widely unavailable
At the regional level, overall prices for transport fuels increased by 13% between November and December, with a median price of 1,549 SYP per litre. Less expensive, manually refined fuels, including diesel, 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, 79% of surveyed fuel vendors reported that manually refined petrol was not available in their market at the time of data collection, while 51% reported the same for both manually refined diesel and manually refined kerosene. 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 December, driven both by increasing demand as well as by fluctuating exchange rates of both the SYP and the TRY against the USD. While two new fuel companies, Kaf Trading Company and Shahba Petroleum Company, began selling alongside Watad Petroleum in the NWS market in November and December, their introduction does not appear to have affected fuel prices overall. REACH field teams reported that fuel prices for all companies largely remain set through directives from the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG).