The Central Bank of Syria announced the existence of a “large quantity” of counterfeit foreign exchange in the country and called for refraining from buying from the informal market.
The Central Bank said in a press statement that when citizens reviewed the bank to pay sums owed on them in foreign currency, it was found that a large amount of it was forged, and bought from the black market. The bank called on the Syrians in the regime-held areas to “refrain from buying foreign currencies from the black market and resort to banks and exchange companies to obtain their need of foreign exchange.”
The Damascus Chamber of Commerce called on merchants and industrialists to stop buying dollars until the end of this month from all outlets and exchange companies. The chamber said in a statement that this aims to support the Syrian pound.
According to some analysts, this is a new method by the regime to preserve the exchange rate of the Syrian pound by claiming that there are a lot of forged dollar notes in the market. They also view the Central Bank’s call as nothing more than a new way to spread panic among Syrians, in an attempt to prevent the conversion of their pounds into dollars as the Syrian pound faces the risk of another major decline immediately after Eid due to the end of the remittance season.
Just last month, the regime named Muhammad Issam Hazima the new head of the central bank amid continued currency depreciation, and other economic problems in the war-ravaged country.
The Syrian pound has declined exceedingly in the past 2 years. At the start of the conflict, $1 was equal to 50 Syrian pounds. The exchange rate dropped but managed to stay at around 500-600 Syrian pounds throughout eight years of the war until the Lebanese crisis began in 2019, which is when we started seeing the total collapse of the SYP. Its value hit a record low in March 2021 against foreign currencies, with the selling rate being at 4,000 SYP and the buying rate at 3,950 SYP against the dollar. As of today, the exchange rate is roughly 3000 SYP to 1 USD.