The national average price of a standard reference food basket in July 2020 was SYP 86,571 (USD 69 at the official exchange rate 1,250/USD), increasing by three percent compared to June 2020.
The reference food basket price increased by 251 percent since July 2019.
The national average ToT between wheat flour and daily non-skilled wage labour, a proxy indicator for purchasing power, reached its lowest level since monitoring began (2014). In July 2020 a daily non-skilled wage could afford only 3.91kgs of wheat flour compared to 8.83kgs in July 2019.
Increased fodder prices caused the price of meat to increase. M-o-m, minced beef increased by ten percent reaching SYP 11,399/kg and whole cleaned chicken increased by 34 percent reaching SYP 3,144/kg.
The Syrian pound informal exchange rate strengthened by 11 percent m-o-m in July reaching a monthly average of SYP 2,262/USD. Both the UN operational rate and the official exchange rate remained unchanged at SYP 1,250/USD.
Standard Food Basket
The national average price of a standard reference food basket increased by three percent between June and July 2020, reaching SYP 86,571. The highest rate recorded since the start of the crisis. The national average food basket price was 131 percent higher than that of January 2020 and was 251 percent higher compared to July 2019.
Compared to June 2020, July food basket prices have been relatively constant due to the arrival of the country’s main agricultural harvest and the strengthening of the informal exchange rate.
While seven governorates reported an increasing average reference food basket price in July 2020, five governorates reported a decreasing average reference food basket and two governorates reported no change compared to June 2020.
The highest month-on-month (m-o-m) increase reported was in Lattakia (up 20 percent) reaching SYP 92,504, followed by Idleb (up 16 percent) reaching SYP 124,769. Lattakia’s increase is led by higher import costs on trade into Syria, while the increase in Idleb’s basket is linked to the continuous decrease in the bread bundle size.
Compared to last year, the price of the reference food basket has increased across all 14 governorates. Idleb recorded the highest increase (up 420 percent), followed by Rural Damascus (up 290 percent).
The gap between the highest and lowest average food basket price widened by 56 percent from SYP 31,188 in June 2020 to SYP 48,661 in July 2020 (Chart 1). The gap has also widened by 740 percent between July 2019 and July 2020. Highlighting worsening trade relations across Syria as well as being affected by the different COVID-19 preventive measures imposed by the different administrative entities across Syria.