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Syria central banks warns against currency 'manipulation'

[DAMASCUS] War-torn Syria's central bank warned on Tuesday it would clamp down on currency "manipulators" as the value of the Syrian pound hit record lows against the dollar this week.

In a statement, it said it "will not fail to take action against manipulators of the Syrian pound, including institutions, companies and individuals."

It said it is taking "all necessary measures to regulate" the market exchange rate and has tasked authorities to supervise operations of money transfer and currency exchange offices.

The statement came after the Syrian pound hit record lows against the dollar in the black market this week, while the official rate remains fixed at 700.

On Tuesday, it sold for 1,650 to the greenback, according to an AFP correspondent in Damascus.

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The central bank said its crackdown comes as a result of a "large drop in the value of the Syrian pound recently."

It blamed the crisis on "manipulators of the Syrian pound who exploited" a coronavirus lockdown and its economic consequences to reap profits.

After nine years of war, Syria is in the thick of a serious economic downturn compounded by a Covid-19 outbreak and a dollar liquidity crunch in neighbouring Lebanon.

Most of Syria's population lives in poverty, according to the United Nations, and food prices have doubled across the country over the past year.

AFP

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