The year-long crisis in Syria has undermined its bilateral trade with its neighboring countries, a Syrian economic analyst said on Wednesday.
The plunging manufacturing capacity within Syria, coupled with a sanction from the European Union and other nations, has pounded the country’s exports and imports, leading to an acute shortage of supplies and inflation.
“Suppose the Syrian export capacity was 100 percent before the crisis and, after the EU sanction it fell 33 percent to 67 percent. The sanction from Turkey further diminished the export to 60 percent,” said Hamid Mahmoud, an economic analyst living in Damascus.
“Our businessmen made a lot of preparations for the trade with Syrians, expecting a nice return during the ‘honeymoon period’ between Turkey and Syria,” said Salaq, secretary-general of the Antakya Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The cascading violence in Syria, however, has sent the booming trade into stagnation. Land crossing points between Hatay and the Syrian port of Aleppo, which remain open during the unrest, witness a 90-percent decline of transportation volume, as transport companies and drivers become reluctant to take the routes amid the ongoing violence, said Omar Attak, manager of a Turkish logistics company.
Around 200 to 300 trucks used to cross the borders on daily basis, but the number has dropped to less than 10 now, Attak noted.
The impact of Syrian unrest on Lebanon is more obvious, according to economists in the country, slowing the growth rate by a least one percent.
“My business has been hard-hit. Almost all profitable industries, like tourism and logistics, has been affected. Our income decreased by more than half,” said Lebanese currency exchange agent Abid Fatah, who has been working in a Lebanese town bordering on Syria.
Finance and tourism, Lebanon‘s two pillar industries, have suffered great loss during the Syrian crisis.
The number of foreign tourists to Lebanon fell by 25 percent year-on-year in 2011.
Seven of Lebanon‘s biggest banks have reported a 17 percent decline in total assets, partially due to the currency depreciation after the Syrian unrest.