Syria strives to keep its currency stable

Xinhua, Damascus
The Syrian pound, which remained stable for more than four months, has slightly depreciated over this month, prompting the government to take measures to prevent any further decline.
The pound has declined from 144 pounds per US dollar to 160 pounds in the black market over the past three days ahead of the Geneva II peace conference on Syrian crisis, which is due to convene on Jan. 22. However, Syrian government’s quick intervention has succeeded in pushing up the price of the pound by 10 pounds in a single day.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi said at a Cabinet’s meeting that the slight decline in the exchange rate of the Syrian pound against the U.S. dollar was caused by attempts of “the enemies of the homeland” to manipulate the exchange rate.
Al-Halqi said that all these “desperate attempts to shake the stability of the exchange rate of the pound have failed due to the government’s measures,” stressing that the government stands firm in the face of anyone who tries to “tamper with the national economy and the exchange rate and will undertake new deterrent measures.
The Syrian al-Eqtissadi website cited what it called “well-informed sources” as saying that the Syrian authorities will start purchasing the Syrian pounds from neighboring countries, mainly Lebanon.
The sources pointed out that lists have already been put to confiscate the property of some businessmen who run exchange companies and speculate in dollar, adding that competent authorities have halted the sale of any assets of exchange companies in order to avoid the smuggling of cash for these companies overseas.
The competent authorities have seized the fixed assets and non- fixed assets of several exchange companies in a step that coincided with the government’s measures.
In this context, the dollar fell in the black market on Tuesday by 10 pound from 160 pounds to 150 pounds per dollar.
Al-Eqtissadi said that the Central Bank of Syria has required the exchange companies a day earlier to sell dollars for citizens at 150 pounds.
It is noteworthy that the U.S. dollar in the black market has seen several ups last year, the highest in July when it was traded at more than 300 pounds.
Governor of the Central Bank of Syria Adib Mayaleh clarified Sunday that the slight depreciation in the price of the Syrian pound against foreign currencies was due to renewed pressure on the pound in a bid to undermine the national economy.
He vowed that the Central Bank will take “very decisive measures” to block manipulation attempts.