In November 2020, the national average price of WFP Syria’s standard reference food basket increased by 13 percent compared to October 2020, reaching SYP 99,243 (USD 79 at the official exchange rate 1,250/USD). This is the highest recorded price since WFP started monitoring prices in 2013.
The price of subsidized bread increased from SYP 50/bundle to SYP 75/ bundle without a nylon bag and to SYP 100/bundle with a nylon bag. The bread bundle size also decreased from 1.3 kg to 1.1 kg. Moreover, commercial bread price increased by 70 percent m-o-m reaching SYP 401/bundle.
The Kurdish Self-Administration imposed COVID-19 related movement restrictions between 26 Nov. and 5 Dec. 2020 in Al-Hasakeh and Ar-Raqqa. The curfew included obligatory closure of markets & shops leading to price increases of many food-items.
The SYP/USD informal exchange rate weakened by 11 percent in November compared to October 2020, reaching SYP 2,638/USD. The official SYP/USD exchange rate remains SYP 1,250/USD.
Standard Food Basket
The national average price of a standard reference food basket1 increased by 13 percent in November 2020 compared to October 2020 and was at SYP 99,243. This is the highest recorded price since WFP started monitoring prices in 2013. In November, the national average food basket price was 75 percent higher than in May 2020 (six months ago) and was 251 percent higher compared to Nov. 2019 (Figure 1).
The increase in the food basket price over the last month is largely led by the doubling in price of subsidized bread across government controlled areas in Syria, from SYP 50/bundle to SYP 100/bundle with a nylon bag and the decrease in the bundle’s size from 1.3 kg to 1.1 kg. Fuel shortages and continued weakening of the informal exchange rate between October and November 2020 also contributed to the food basket price increase.
Month-on-month (m-o-m), all 14 governorates reported an increasing average reference food basket price in November 2020. The highest m-o-m increase of 23 percent was reported in Idleb reaching SYP 130,743, while the lowest increase of eight percent was reported in both Rural Damascus and As-Sweida reaching SYP 92,578 and SYP 95,764, respectively.
Compared to last year, the price of the reference food basket has significantly increased across all 14 governorates. Similarly, Idleb continued to record the highest increase (up 352 percent), followed by Quneitra (up 290 percent). Furthermore, the gap between the highest and lowest average food basket prices per governorate increased by 59 percent from SYP 28,402 in October 2020 to SYP 45,103 in November 2020 (Chart 1). The gap was 101 percent wider since May 2020 (six months ago) and 506 percent wider compared to November 2019, highlighting continued supply chain disruptions across the country.