Assad lifts Syrian wages after conflict hikes prices

BEIRUT, June 22 Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:57pm EDT

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BEIRUT, June 22 (Reuters) - President Bashar al-Assad ordered pay rises for Syrian soldiers and government employees on Saturday to address steep increases in the cost of living caused by the two-year uprising against his rule.

State media said the pay hikes would raise monthly wages by 40 percent for the first 10,000 Syrian pounds ($50), tapering to 5 percent for monthly pay above 30,000 pounds. Retired state employees would get more modest rises, it said.

Sharp falls in the Syrian pound have driven up the price of many goods in recent days. The currency, which stood at 47 to the dollar at the start of the conflict in March 2011, has tumbled in value to below 200.

Inflation stands at 50 percent but economists warn that sustained falls in the currency could fuel hyperinflation.

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