5.6 Million is the Average Cost of Living for the Syrian Family at the Beginning of Ramadan
With the end of the first quarter of 2023, and since before the beginning of the month of Ramadan, Syrians have directly witnessed significant increases in the prices of various necessary basic commodities. The average cost of living for a Syrian family of 5 has increased according to Kassioun index for the costs of living to jump to more than 5.6 million Syrian pounds (the minimum has reached 3,546,083 Syrian pounds). All this is happening while the minimum of wages (92,970 Syrian pounds, i.e., less than $13 a month) is still very meager and insufficient to actually cover anything from the basics of life.
As a reminder, starting from issue No. 1036, Kassioun has adopted a specific method in calculating the minimum of wages for the Syrian family of five people. The method consists in calculating the minimum costs of the necessary food basket (according to the daily need of an individual to about 2400 calories from various food sources. For this purpose, Kassioun relied on calculating the basic need per capita during one day which was formulated by the “Creativity and Self-Reliance” Conference of the General Federation of Trade Unions in 1987, through which the productive citizen obtains calories that ensure his/her life and the reproduction of his/her labor force again). Given that these costs of food represent 60% of the total minimum costs of living of the family, while the remaining 40% represent the other basic needs of the family (the costs of housing, transportation, education, clothing, healthcare, household appliances, telecommunications, and others).
41% is the Increase in the Costs of Living within Three Months
At the end of March 2023, and before the month of Ramadan, the average cost of living of the Syrian family has witnessed an increase by about 1,661,555 Syrian pounds from the average cost of living recorded by Kassioun index at the beginning of 2023. As these costs have moved from 4,012,178 Syrian pounds at the beginning of January, to 5,673,733 Syrian pounds at the end of March (while the minimum cost of living for the family has increased by about 1,038,472 SP, moving from 2,507,622 SP at the beginning of January, to 3,546,082 SP at the end of March). That is, the costs have actually increased by about 41.4% within only three months (January, February, and March), while the increase during the previous period (the months of October, November, and December 2022) was about 12.2%.
In parallel, the meager wage is getting more meager and dwarf with the increase of the costs of living. While in the last three months of 2022 the minimum of wages (92,970 SP) was only able to cover 2.3% of the average costs of living, it became during the first three months of 2023 only able to cover 1.6% of the average costs of living.
Meat and Sweets are at the Top of Increases
The minimum monthly costs of basic food for a family of 5 have increased from 1,504,567 SP at the beginning of January to 2,127,650 SP at the end of March, according to the average prices of these components in local markets in the capital Damascus. While the price of government bread has remained constant – assuming that citizens were actually able to provide it at its official price – the increases have reached the prices of all the components of the basic food basket without exception. Starting with the prices of meat (red meat and chicken), whose prices have increased by about 67.5%, as the price of 75 grams has jumped from 2,888 SP in January, to more than about 4,838 SP at the end of March.
The prices of sweets have increased by 47.8% from the calculations of the beginning of January, as the cost of 112 grams of sweets necessary per person per day has exceeded 4,760 SP, while it was 3,220 SP last January. Same applies to cheese, where the price of 25 grams has increased by 42.9%, moving from 350 Syrian pounds in January to about 500 SP at the end of March.
And as such, the cost of eggs has increased by 26.5%, as the cost of 50 grams per day has moved from about 526 SP at the beginning of January to 667 SP at the end of March. The prices of vegetables have also increased by 17.1%, as the price of 65 grams moved from 820 SP at the beginning of the year to 960 SP at the end of March. The prices of fruit have increased by the same percentage (17.1%), as the price of 60 grams jumped from 1,167 SP at the end of last year to 1,367 at the end of March. As for rice, it has increased by 3.7%, moving the price of 70 grams per day from 945 SP at the end of last year to 980 SP at the end of March.
The Costs of Other Basic Needs: The Threshold of One and a Half Million
The minimum costs of other basic needs which constitute 40% of the total costs of living (such as housing, transportation, education, clothing, healthcare, household appliances, telecommunications, and others) have increased from 1,003,044 SP at the end of December, to 1,418,433 SP at the end of March, i.e., they also increased by 41.4% within three months.