DAMASCUS, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Central Bank of Syria (CBS) had strongly intervened in the exchange market and its policy was proved constructive in pushing up the price of the Syrian pound. Yet, Syrians still grumble about the soaring prices of consumer items and even predict the worse.
After announcing that it will sell 10 million U.S. dollars, the CBS held a foreign currency public sale session on Monday and sold U.S. dollars for four exchange companies.
The bank said funding requests from exchange companies were limited during this session as the market has sufficient foreign currency to meet demand.
The bank asserted that it will continue its policy of intervention to preserve exchange rates and curb speculation.
The intervention policy was conducive in increasing the value of the pound from 210 pounds per dollar a couple of weeks ago to 165 pounds on Monday in the black market.
The CBS's Governor Adib Mayaleh said that the dollar tumbled in the Syrian market primarily due to the fading of the reasons that had fuelled its price via exploiting people's concerns about the current crisis in Syria.
Still, the main reason, according to observers, behind the rise in the value of the pound is the recent U.S.-Russian agreement on Syria that has rid Syria of a military strike.
Syrians predict further dips in the dollar's exchange rate during the next days to reach 150 pounds in the black market.
However, the rise in the pound's value had no effect on the prices of consumer commodities that are still soaring on a daily basis and most of them have become out of reach for many Syrians.
Samir, a government employee in his 40s, told Xinhua that the exchange rate doesn't matter for him "simply because I have no hard currency," adding that most Syrians like him only care about their living conditions.
"I would have been pleased about the rise in the pound's value had the consumer prices in the market fallen," he moaned.
On the contrary, he said, the prices keep increasing every day.
A recent report issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit, an independent institution within the London-based "The Economist" group, indicated that food prices in Syria have ballooned by nearly 322 percent between the years 2000 and 2013.
It indicated that the total food consumption has amounted to 45. 6 percent out of the total household spending and that the per capita share of the GDP dramatically fell.
The report noted that Syria fell 7 ranks in the global food security index in 2013 when compared with those of last year. Syria ranked 75 in the index of affordability, and the biggest decline was in the availability of food index.
Rami Zaatari, an economist, attributed Syria's retreat in the index to several factors, including the continuation of economic sanctions, the difficulties of import operations, the decline in exchange rate of the Syrian pound, and the increasing cost of transportation and insurance.
Syrians are still grumbling under the brunt of harsh economic conditions, high rate of unemployment and soaring prices.
The recent increase in the prices of gasoline from 80 pounds to 100 pounds per litter, the second increase within few months, has raised concerns among Syrians about an ensuing rise in the prices of some other materials.
The economic researcher Abed Fadhliya told local media that raising gasoline prices will reflect negatively on the living standards of citizens.
"In principle, in these harsh conditions on the homeland and the citizen, we are against the rise in the price of any commodity, especially if the rise in the gasoline prices will raise the prices of many other commodities, mainly the transportation services," he said.
Minister of Oil and Mineral Resources Suleiman al-Abbas stressed that the decision of the government to increase the price of gasoline does not mean that the government is abandoning the subsidy policy.
Al-Abbas told local media that the oil burden on the treasury reached in some months to 400 million U.S. dollars per month as the cost of a liter of gasoline is about 150 pounds, which means that the government is still subsidizing gasoline by 50 pounds per liter.
Meanwhile, Mayaleh, the governor of the CBS, also assured that the stability of the exchange rate will lead to stability in all prices in general.