How is Syria affecting Arab business?
The deteriorating situation in Syria is affecting trade and commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. According to analysts, although Syria GDP is less than 3% of the total output of Arab countries, but a continued deadlock is likely to affect investment and tourism in the region overall. Syria also produces 400,000 barrels of crude oil a day and a prolonged disruption may only add to the upward pressure on oil prices.
The international community has imposed strict economic sanctions on Syria, which includes a monitoring of all bank transfers, freezing of assets and suspension from the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA).
The economic abeyance of the country has also impacted Syria's private sector, which accounts for 73 percent of its economy. The local currency Syrian pound -- has fallen from 50 SP to a dollar to 55 SP to a dollar in recent weeks. Economists say that exports from Syria are expected to drop by 20 percent, while imports into the country have already slid by 30 to 40 percent.
More than 200,000 people enter the labour market each year. As oil production declines and higher budgetary receipts loom, the days ahead are going to be very critical for the Syrian economy.
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