New sanctions cause further inflation
The Syrian national economy continues to suffer on multiple fronts as a result of the tightening of international sanctions witnessed in recent months. As mentioned in our February report, the renewed US sanctions on Iran have put a near-halt to exports of Iranian gas to Syria, causing a deep domestic shortage in cooking gas and gas for heating. Throughout February, the shortages only got worse. Prior to the reintroduction of sanctions, a conventional canister of cooking/heating gas would cost around 2500 Syrian pounds (equal to approximately 5 USD), the standard fixed price set by the Syrian government, and was widely available. In the first weeks after sanctions on Iran were re-imposed, gas shortages emerged in the Damascus countryside and the coastal region but it remained widely available in Damascus but at 20% higher official fixed prices of 6 USD per canister. By mid-January, gas was no longer available except in the black market at more than double the official fixed rate (10-12 USD per canister) and only in extremely limited amounts.