Yemen Market Watch Report, Issue No. 19, December 2017
The scarcity of food and fuel commodities further worsened in December 2017 mainly due to the blockade and escalated conflicts and airstrikes. Governorates such as Taiz, Sa’ada, Sana’a, Al Hodieda,
Sana’a City, Hajja, Al Baidha, and Shabwa suffered the most from scarcity of essential commodities.
Retail prices of basic food items and fuel significantly further increased in December 2017 as a result of the scarcity of commodities in local markets caused by the continued blockade and intensification of conflicts and airstrikes. Fuel prices in December 2017 were more than compared to the pre-crisis period, while food prices increased between 26% and 85%.
Governorates currently under active conflicts and escalated airstrikes such as Sa’ada, Taiz,
Sana’a City, Hajja, Al Baidha and Shabwa experienced highest prices of basic commodities.
The average cost of the monthly minimum food basket in December increased by 4% and 12% from November and October, respectively, and 47% higher than in pre-crisis period.
The Alert for Price Spikes (ALPS) indicators in December 2017 persisted to be at stress/crisis situation reflecting the impact of the continued blockade and the escalation of conflicts.
The prolonged conflict-driven crisis in Yemen is currently described as the worst humanitarian disaster and largest emergency in the world. Escalation in fighting, unrest experienced with the killing of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh and intensified airstrikes coupled with the blockade have pushed millions of Yemenis into destitution. Over half of the population are deprived of basic necessities and are experiencing extreme hunger, and at least eight million people are at risk of famine. While most of the health facilities and basic services have almost collapsed, over a million people are affected by the cholera outbreak, one of the worst in the world, and nearly 500 people are infected by diphtheria outbreak which is spreading rapidly – all leading the country into complex catastrophic situation. One of the manifestations of the devastating impact of the war on Yemen’s economy is the rapid depreciation of Yemeni Riyal (YER) which is further aggravating the complex humanitarian crisis in the country. The national average exchange rate in December 2017 stood at 441 YER/USD, which is more than double from the precrisis rate (215 YER/USD). Compared to the rates in November and October, the exchange rate in December rose by about 7% and 13%, respectively. The exchange rates in December in 13 governorates – Abyan, Addaleh, Aden, Al Baidha, Al Jawf, Al Mahweet, Dhamar, Hajja, Ibb, Laheg, Sana’a City, Shabwa, and Taiz governorates – exceeded the national average (Chart 1).