Syrians are closely watching consumer prices after the government decided to raise diesel prices, a move that could potentially have an impact on more than 300 consumer items. For example, the price for a bundle of bread is now 90 Syrian pounds, compared to 45 pounds a few months ago. A U.S. dollar now buys 95 pounds in the black market. Food prices have increased by 20 percent to 30 percent and vegetable and fruit prices have also jumped by 20 percent during the same period. Clothing prices were up between 20 percent and 50 percent and in some cases by 70 percent. Economists attributed the hikes to the turmoil in the country that has heavily affected all factories in the city of Aleppo, a hub of garment making. The government has recently raised the price of diesel from 25 pounds per liter to 35 pounds per liter. However, the decision to increase fuel prices has drawn criticism from economists and some officials. They warned the move would push consumer prices higher and the government could do little about this. Qadri Jamil, Syria's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, has called for the revocation of diesel price hike, warning the move would only complicate the current crisis as diesel is a strategic item. "This would hard hit the level of the Syrians' living conditions, which have basically deteriorated," he said in a statement. Meanwhile, Qais Khader, an economist, told local media that the rise in diesel prices is "inappropriate at this time." However, some observers believe that the decision is justified in the current circumstances as the country is facing a dire fuel shortage owing to "terrorist" attacks on fuel establishments and the economic sanctions on the country. The government has called the rebels "terrorists" since unrest broke out some 22 months ago. The country is now experiencing a steep shortage in diesel fuel, cooking gas and gasoline with most fuel stations being shut down. The Syria-steps website warned that the situation could become worse as the Rmelan oilfield, the most important and largest one in Syria, has been besieged and attacked by gunmen.