Gaza war impacts Jordan economy as consumer spending takes a hit

downtown stores boycott
(File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN – In the Jordanian capital the war on Gaza is not merely a far-flung news story, customers are no longer buying, music is barely played out loud, stores on the boycott list stand bare and deserted and the general mood of despair, anger, and sadness are hard to miss. اضافة اعلان

“It is noticeable during the nighttime hours that the streets become empty, and people remain in front of screens,” Dr. Mustafa Al-Ahmedi, who owns a pharmacy in Amman, told Jordan News.

“This is especially clear when Abu Obaida delivers his speech, giving the impression as if there is a state of curfew.”

Ahmedi said it was clear that spending habits had changed since October 7, and a sense of anxiety had taken over as people feared the worst for the future.

“It is very strange to see people refraining from purchasing medicines and seeking alternatives. This is causing significant losses for pharmacy owners, as sales have declined by 20 percent,” he said.

“Citizens now only buy essential medicines, and there seems to be a sense of anxiety among them regarding spending.”

The Deputy of the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Jamal al-Rifai, said that the war on Gaza has had a significant and direct impact on economic activity in Jordan especially in the service, hospitality, and tourism industries.

“We are the closest country to Palestine in every sense of the word, with the bonds of blood and geography connecting us. Therefore, these repercussions are expected and natural,” Rifai told Jordan News.

“People make decisions to boycott and refrain from buying in solidarity with our people in Gaza. Moreover, they abstain from holding events, public invitations, and weddings. Everyone is now in a state of anticipation, following the news hour by hour with a great sense of anger and injustice.

Rifai added that the tourism sector had been greatly and noticeably affected as many reservations as possible for tourist delegations were canceled, with organizers considering the region to be unsafe and unstable. He also confirmed that the sectors of clothing, electricity, and furniture had witnessed a noticeable decline.

“Consumers feel a state of psychological fatigue and a sense of waiting regarding the developments of the war in Gaza. Today, the mood of the Jordanians is closely linked to their television. Even people's meetings revolve around this topic.”

Rifai pointed out that the war on Gaza had impacted importation due to the weakening purchasing power. However, he said the export process was proceeding normally at the moment, but this could be impacted by regional escalation in the Red Sea. 

Wholesale merchant Saleh Shahin told Jordan News that the economic situation had declined by more than half, and citizens were now focusing only on securing basic needs. As traders, he said they find themselves closing their businesses early due to the calmness of the streets as people stay in their homes.

“Small traders used to come to buy goods weekly, but after the aggression, they say that goods are barely being sold. The economic downturn has had a significant impact on the purchasing behavior of both businesses and individual consumers,” he said.

Economic expert Mufleh Akel, said that there is no doubt that the war on Gaza has had a negative impact on the Jordanian economy. He highlighted that at the beginning of this year, economic activity in the first nine months was good in terms of growth, tourism, and improvement in the labor market.

“It is clear there was a change and a decline in the last quarter, precisely since the seventh of October. The country is now witnessing different conditions, and the economy, politics, and social life are going through a phase of boiling tension and instability,” he told Jordan News.

They are in a state of anticipation, wondering if the war will extend further or if it will be halted.”

He said the situation had led people to refrain from all forms of spending due to uncertainty about the future making them content with staying at home, following the news, and discussing what is happening.

Akel believes that the economic situation will worsen if the war on Gaza continues, and there will be no change in the mindset, emotions, and spending habits of people unless the situation becomes clearer.

“They are in a state of anticipation, wondering if the war will extend further or if it will be halted,” he said.”

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