The balance of consumer purchasing in the north and south of the island has altered with the devaluation of the Turkish lira.
Shopping in the north has become very attractive for Greek Cypriots because of the cheaper cost of products, food and fuel. Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriots who are finding the value of their earnings almost halved are seeking employment in the south.
Greek Cypriots spent a total of 6.7 million Euros in the north in the first seven months of 2018, while Turkish Cypriots spent 11.5 million Euros in South Cyprus in the same time period according to reports on credit card spending. Greek Cypriot daily Kathimerini’s economy section commented on the reflections of the Turkish Lira depreciation in both communities.
“The Greek Cypriots are shopping, Turkish Cypriots are looking for jobs” ran the headline, The newspaper reports that Greek Cypriots began heading to North Cyprus first to buy fuel and then to purchase food and medicines.
The newspaper published a statement by a young Turkish Cypriot woman who runs a pharmacy serving hundreds of Greek Cypriot customers, near Vrysulles in the Famagusta region. She said “I could not survive this great economic crisis if weren’t for the Greek Cypriot customers”.
The Turkish Cypriot pharmacist stated that Turkish Cypriot customers restricted their purchases and that they only bought the drugs that were essential to them. Referring to the price of drugs in North Cyprus she also said that anti-cholesterol medication costs 20 to 23 Euros in the south and 7.5 Euros in the north.
The newspaper wrote that Greek Cypriots now showed interest in buying clothing items as well as fuel, food and medicine. The newspaper quoted a young Turkish Cypriot speaking to the newspaper as saying that “his salary was 650 euros in North Cyprus last year, and today its value has dropped to 350 euros”.