Syria crisis

Syrian pound hits new low on black market amid fuel crisis

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Syria’s nose-diving pound hit a new record low Saturday against the dollar on the black market, according to websites monitoring the exchange rate, as the country faces severe fuel shortages.

The Syrian economy has been battered by more than 11 years of war and crippling Western sanctions, pushing 90 percent of the population into poverty, according to the United Nations.


The exchange rate reached more than 6,000 Syrian pounds to the US dollar for the first time, the websites said, driving up the price of goods.

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Syria’s official exchange rate has stood at around 3,015 pounds to the greenback since September -- compared to 47 pounds to the dollar in 2011.

The unofficial rate means the currency is now worth almost 99 percent less on the black market than the official rate before the start of the conflict.

An average monthly salary of 130,000 Syrian pounds, according to figures reported in Syrian media, is now worth about $21.

Chronic fuel shortages in the war-torn country have intensified in recent weeks, prompting the government to adopt austerity measures including temporarily instating a reduced working week in the public sector.

Syria’s sporting federation on Wednesday announced the suspension of “all sports activities... until the end of the year” due to the acute shortages.

Syria’s civil war has killed nearly half a million people, displaced millions, fragmented the country and ravaged its economy and infrastructure.

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