Lagarde says the worst of the coronavirus crisis has likely passed, but recovery will be a 'complicated matter'

PARIS, (ST) – Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, warned that while the world may be past the worst of the coronavirus crisis, a recovery will likely not be straight forward.

She added the economic crisis caused by the outbreak of the new Corona epidemic will affect deeply on the global economy.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about the "sharpest, deepest recession," but "we are probably past the lowest point," Lagarde said Friday during the online Northern Lights Summit, adding that "we are moving towards a recovery."

International Monetary Fund: the global economy is heading towards the largest recession in a hundred years

The International Monetary Fund confirmed that the Corona pandemic will cause the highest levels of economic recession for nearly a hundred years, especially as the crisis worsens due to the spread of the virus in various emerging and developing economies.

More details are available in the following link:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/24/economy/imf-economic-outlook/index.html

Inas Abdulkareem

Syria ranked third at Arab level in apricot production

DAMASCUS, (ST)_ Syria is ranked ninth in the world and third at Arab level in producing apricot after Morocco and Algeria, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.  

The ministry said that Syria's production of apricot reached this year roughly 36324 tons.

"The ministry has adopted several measures to develop and back the planting of apricot. It produced saplings and distributed them among farmers at a nominal price thus the number of produced saplings hit 238180 last season. This year, the ministry plans to produce 235000 saplings," Director of Plant Production Department Eng. Abdelmo'een Qadmani said.

Significant Increase in Cotton Cultivated Areas in Syria after liberation from terrorism

Cotton is considered one of the strategic agricultural crops in Syria as more than 20% of citizens work in cultivating cotton which provides the raw material for textiles and  oils  industries and Syria is distinguished by its high quality cotton products.

The Syrian cotton is widely  famous at the local and international markets as Syria has been able to rank second on the international level with regard to production and the cultivated areas..

Cotton agriculture  declined during the terrorist war launched against the country which dragged on for nine years and the production and cultivated areas decreased , while nowadays work is underway to restore the excellency of this agricultural product.

Real Estate Sector in Damascus:

 Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria in 2011, millions of Syrians lost their homes and buildings. According to Syrian economists, 500.000 to 2 million houses and flats were partially and completely destroyed.

“Destroyed Buildings in the Al-Yarmouck Palestinian Camp, southern Damascus”

Tens thousands of families were displaced from their demolished hometowns to Damascus, Lattakia, Tartous and Hama where they could find secure safe homes to live in. This internal displacing changed the Syrian construction and real estate entrepreneurs.

The displaced families have rented houses for years. But as the owners of the houses increased their monthly rent due to the evaluation of the Syrian currency, they headed to purchase small flat which is better than paying a monthly rent. But all Syrian people who want to own a new flat in these difficult circumstances were shocked of the reality.

A few months ago, Damascus city and its suburbs witnessed astronomical rise in the prices of real estate because the deterioration of Syrian currency with the American-European sanctions on Syria and Lebanon’s instability situation.

Working class and governmental employees cannot buy a small flat in a suburb close to Damascus city because its price reach to 60 million Syrian Pound.

 “I have 40 million Syrian Pound. I cannot find a suitable flat to buy. What can I do? I cannot take a loan from a governmental or private bank and I cannot borrow some money from my old parents who almost can buy their food. I and my wife make 130. 000 SP monthly salaries,” Rami, 34-year-old, an electricity engineer works at the Ministry of Electricity and his wife a governmental teacher said to Syria Time.

 “For three weeks ago, I toured all suburbs around Damascus. I went to Jarmanah, Judaydat Artuz, Qudsiya, Sahnaya and Ashrafiyat Sahnaya. I think I should forget the idea of buying a flat and live with my parents in their small flat,” Rami said, during a meeting with him in a real estate office in Ashrafiyat Sahnaya suburb, 10km southwest of Damascus.

 

  Abu Mohannad, 50-year-old, who runs a real estate office in Ashrafiyat Sahnaya agreed what Eng. Rami said.

According to Abu Mohannad and other real estate dealers, the prices of flats and shops astronomically increased for different reasons and the Syrian citizens cannot meet this rise.

“I personally cannot tell my consumers about the prices of flats in this suburb (Ashrafiyat Sahnaya). The prices of a 100-m2-finished flat reach 60million Syrian pounds. It is crazy market and the buyers nowadays are only the ones who get their money from their relatives overseas, (from the Arab Gulf states such as Emirates, Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, and from Europe). Two days ago, I sold a 180m2 flat with 120 million SP to a family from Dara’a whose son lives in United Arab Emirates,” said Abu Mohamnnad.

 “The Syrian expatriates send their money in dollars so, the prices of real estate are cheaper than the past, while the Syrians who get paid in Syria pounds cannot meet these rocketing home prices.”

Abu Ibrahim, 46-year-old a real estate constructor who has two new buildings in Ashrafiyat Sahnaya analyzed the causes of higher home prices.

 “There are different factors defining the prices of flat. The first factor is the prices of land. The prices of 1000 m2 in Ashrafiyat Sahnaya reached to 1. 7 billion SP, which means the cost of one m2 for each flat ranges from 100 to 120 thousands SP , the cost of building reached 70 thousands, the cost of governmental license and taxes rose to 12 thousands and the cost of elevator is 35 million SP. There are other services costs for a building, the total cost of one m2 amounted to 250 thousand according to today prices. Today, the prices of one ton of iron is 2 million SP, one ton of cement 90 thousand and one meter of ground ceramic is about 35 thousand,” Abu Ibrahim said while he was touring in his new building.

 “The ordinary people think that the real estate constructor and traders increase their prices to make too much profits but this is not true. The cost of construction increased too much in the last few weeks, one ton of iron and cost of elevator doubled in the last five weeks.  The wages of workers increased 50% comparing to three months ago. Everyone of the iron traders who import his iron in dollar as well as the simple constructor are increasing their prices according to the dollar price. The high cost of construction increases the prices of homes,” Abu Ibrhaim said.

Abu Gasem, 60-year-old Damascene construction developer who has construction projects in Judaydat Artuz said that the Syrian government can help in decreasing the prices of flats and building by expanding the blueprints of Damascus city and suburbs around it.

 “The Ministry of Local Administration should speed up the process of laying down expansions of blueprints of Jarmanah, Judaydat Artuz, Qudsiya, Sahnaya and Ashrafiyat Sahnaya. Then, the construction developers and dealers can buy legal licensed lands with official blueprint to build new buildings on them with cheaper prices, which in turn will surly decrease the cost of buildings as well as  the prices of flats and buildings. For example, there are no new lands for buildings in Damascus city and all residents of Damascus city are enforced to buy in suburbs close to it,” Abu Gasem said to Syria Times.

 “The Ministry of Housing should finish its stopped projects of housing and this will help to increase the number of empty finished flats and sell them with long -term loans to the governmental employees and working-class families,” Abu Gasem said.

 “It is good to have cooperation between the governmental building organizations and private sector construction companies to solve the problem of housing in Syria. the government should decrease the fees and taxes on the imported building materials to decrease their prices.”

 

Reported by: Obaida Hamad / Inas Abdulkareem