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    Syria Economy - 1989

      Overview: Syria's rigidly structured Bathist economy is turning out roughly the same amount of goods in 1989 as in 1983, when the population was 20% smaller. Economic difficulties are attributable, in part, to severe drought in several recent years, costly but unsuccessful attempts to match Israel's military strength, a fall-off in Arab aid, and insufficient foreign exchange earnings to buy needed inputs for industry and agriculture. Socialist policy, embodied in a thicket of bureaucratic regulations, in many instances has driven away or pushed underground the mercantile and entrepreneurial spirit
      for which Syrian businessmen have long been famous. Two bright spots: a sizable number of villagers have benefited from land redistribution, electrification, and other rural development programs; and a recent find of light crude oil has enabled Syria to cut back its substantial imports of light crude. A long-term concern is the additional drain of upstream Euphrates water by Turkey when its vast dam and irrigation projects are completed toward the end of the 1990s.

      GDP: $20.3 billion, per capita $1,962; real growth rate 5.6% (1985)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): about 70% (1987)

      Unemployment rate: 5.0% (1986)

      Budget: revenues NA; expenditures $4.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.95 billion (1988)

      Exports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1987 est.); @m5commodities--petroleum, textiles, fruits and vegetables, phosphates; @m5partners--Italy, Romania, USSR, US, Iran, France

      Imports: $2.7 billion (f.o.b., 1987 est.); @m5commodities--petroleum, machinery, base metals, foodstuffs and beverages; @m5partners--Iran, FRG, USSR, France, GDR, Libya, US

      External debt: $4.86 billion (1988 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate 8.1% (1986 est.)

      Electricity: 2,619,000 kW capacity; 9,173 million kWh produced, 790 kWh per capita (1988)

      Industries: textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, petroleum

      Agriculture: cotton, wheat, barley, tobacco; sheep and goats

      Aid: NA

      Currency: Syrian pound (plural--pounds); 1 Syrian pound (LS) = 100 piasters

      Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (LS) per US$1--11.2250 (fixed rate since 1987), 3.9250 (fixed rate 1976-87)

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Syria on this page is re-published from the 1989 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Syria Economy 1989 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Syria Economy 1989 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 15-Apr-03
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