The Syrian Center for Policy Research’s Consumer Price Index in Syria provides a complex index to monitor and analyze consumer prices, inflation and the cost of living at the level of local economies in all Syrian governorates across the different areas of control. It is the outcome of two years of continuous work surveying prices in Syria.
The SCPR’s Consumer Price Index in Syria is unique in that it is based on a consumption pattern that is representative of the current period in Syria. The selection of the consumer basket was based on the 2009 Household Income and Expenditure Survey and adjusted following SCPR’s multipurpose surveys in 2020 in all governorates; the year 2021, a recent year that represents the local markets and economies affected by the conflict, was selected as the base year.
The surveys covered all Syrian governorates and control areas. They featured 59 markets, 30 of which were located in governorates centres and 29 of which were outside of them. Based on the following criteria, the markets were chosen to adequately reflect the majority of Syria’s geographic regions.
Syria is currently in a state of high inflation; the general price index (according to the Paasche index 2021) increased 6 times between 2019 and mid-2022, and food prices increased 6.7 times. The overall price index in Syria recorded annual inflation (Y-o-Y) of 113.46 per cent in 2020, 110.90 per cent in 2021 and 55.71 per cent in the first half of 2022 (compared to 2021). Food inflation reached 132.99 per cent in 2020, 110.47 per cent in 2021 and 56.71 per cent in the first half of 2022 (compared to 2021). Distinctive aspects of local economies are clearly visible in Syria across various areas of control (GoS area, SIG and SSG areas and AA areas).The highest general and food inflation during the reporting period (October 2020 to June 2022) was seen in the GoS areas, followed by the AA areas and then the SIG and SSG areas.
The high inflation rates identified by SCPR’s Consumer Prices Index in Syria reflect the reality of conflict economies and the sharp deterioration in economic performance and living standards, and significant increase in the national household (extreme, lower, and upper) poverty lines. In the first half of 2022, the extreme poverty line per household was set at SYP 645 thousand; the lower poverty line per household was set at about a million SYP, and the upper poverty line per household was roughly SYP 1.4 million. The SIG and SSG areas had the highest value of poverty lines, followed by the GoS areas and then the AA areas.
The importance of SCPR’s Index is that it provides regular tracking of prices in the various areas of control, which can be used as a foundation for developing interventions and programmes, thus enabling civil society and international organizations to develop their relevant policies. The current report serves as a foundation for future research and studies, notably including an examination of the determinants of inflation in Syria, determining the magnitude of the impact of the economies of violence and monopoly on the general level of prices, investigating food and non-food costs of living at the local level, analyzing disparity in income and expenditure across various areas in Syria, and identifying and measuring new patterns of poverty.