Syria: Central Bank cash reserve around SYP 600 billion
Governor of Central Bank of Syria Dr. Adib Mayyaleh affirmed on Tuesday that the Syrian Pound is strong and that the Central Bank's cash reserves almost equals the amount of cash put into circulation which amounts to SYP 600 billion, noting that cash surplus in banks increased by 12% by July 5th 2011.
In a statement to SANA, Mayyaleh said that the Central Bank's surplus is around SYP 197.6 billion, 92% of it in Syrian Pounds and the rest in foreign currency, affirming that the amount of cash at the Central Bank refutes the allegations that it can't pay salaries and feed ATMs for another month, adding that the crisis showed the Syrian people's confidence in the Syrian Pound and banking sector.
He pointed out that during the early stage of the events in Syria, banks witnessed withdrawals caused by fears from the events, but deposits returned to normal afterwards, adding that banks were fully prepared to cover their clients' withdrawals.
Mayyaleh pointed out that campaigns for supporting the Syrian Pound were voluntary and spontaneous gestures, and not at the request of the Syrian authorities as some media sources are claiming.
He said that deposits increased during the 2nd quarter of 2011 by 4% compared with the end of the 1st quarter, noting that thee Central Bank's deposits are dedicated to financing investment, tourism and green projects, in addition to small and medium projects.
Regarding the news of investments fleeing Syria, Mayyaleh said that most foreign investors announced that they will continue their activities in Syria despite the current circumstances, and that they are betting on the solid foundations of Syrian economy and stability of the Syrian Pound's exchange rate and the success of the reform program.
He pointed out that several banks announced opening new projects according to the annual banks expansion plan, and that various large foreign companies working in real estate, tourism , construction and other investment fields have announced that they will resume their projects in Syria, adding that friendly countries in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe are providing support, particularly Russia.
On the Damascus Securities Exchange, Mayyaleh said that claims of its fragility are mere opinions, and that securities values didn't drop beneath the actual values of company assets, adding that losses are currently a trend in most Arab and international stock markets.
He also noted that inflation amounted to 3.99% during the first five months in 2011, while it was 4.35% during the same period in 2010.
Regarding the Syrian Pound exchange rate, Mayyaleh stressed that any crisis affecting a country will affect its economy and in turn its currency's exchange rate, and that there's no denying that recent events in Syria put a lot of pressure on the Syrian Pound exchange rate, yet it remained stable.
He stressed that the black market exchange rate isn't the real exchange rate and that the people who work in this field are deliberately inflating prices to take advantage of people and cause a state of worry in order to boost their business and profits, affirming that the Central Bank is capable of protecting the Syrian Pound and providing foreign currency.
Mayyaleh refuted allegations about the lack of foreign currency and restricting it, saying that the Central Bank is providing the market's need for both commercial and non-commercial needs, adding that the documents required for purchasing foreign currency are needed to prevent any manipulation of the market and preventing operations of money laundering and funding terrorism.
He noted that Syrian economy, unlike most other low-level economies, has a very low foreign debt, which gives Syria sovereignty and independence, in addition to the Syrian economy wealth of resources and diversity.
Mayyaleh concluded by calling on journalists – particularly those with knowledge in economics – to help confront the vicious attack against Syria and support the Syrian economy through their writing by shedding light on its strong points and seeking rational and scientific solutions to its problems.