Bad figures continue, as hope pinned on Syrian central bank's intervention

Official figures show that the Syrian economy has continued to worsen, while citizens, without alternatives, pin hope on the intervention of the central bank to turn things around.

In a monthly bulletin of economic development for October 2012, the government said annual inflation rate for the month amounted to 49.89 percent, an increase of about 3.7 percent over the previous month.

It said a variety of reasons led to the decline of Syrian people's living standard, mainly the external pressures and economic sanctions imposed by the West and some Arab countries.

Shadi Ahmed, an economic researcher, said life turned hard for Syrians because the revenues in foreign currency were cut particularly after import of Syrian oil to Europe and dealings with the Commercial Bank of Syria had been banned.

Another reason, Ahmed said, was the attacks carried out by armed groups against oil pipelines, as well as the practices of some merchants of raising prices unjustifiably.

Ahmad said that the rise in the prices of most items has had a profound impact on the poorest, who, even before the crisis, were unable to afford the cost of living.

"How could they do that now after the crisis that as increased unemployment and led to the closure of many private enterprises and a decline in the purchasing power of the Syrian pound," said Ahmed.

Preliminary indications for the overall prices have increased by 35 percent two years after the outbreak of the political crisis, with some items' prices doubled.

Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Protection Imad al-Aseel told al-Watan newspaper that prices have reached " illogical limits."

Syrians are now waiting for the intervention of the Central Bank of Syria to prop up the Syrian pound that has lost around 60 percent of its value.

The bank has assured that it would intervene within the next 24 hours, but whether words are turned into acts, and whether effects can be seen quickly remain open questions.

Meanwhile, the government said in the bulletin that there was a clear decline in the total number of investment projects licensed by the provisions of investment laws, noting that only three projects had been approved in October 2012.

A drop is also reflected in tourism, as the number of foreign tourists plummeted from 113,000 in October 2011 to 9,000 in October 2012, a drop by about 92 percent.