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    Syria Economy - 1990

      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 falloff 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: $18.5 billion, per capita $1,540; real growth rate - 2% (1989 est.)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 70% (1989 est.)

      Unemployment rate: NA%

      Budget: revenues $NA; expenditures $3.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $1.92 billion (1989)

      Exports: $1.3 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities--petroleum, textiles, fruits and vegetables, phosphates; partners--Italy, Romania, USSR, US, Iran, France

      Imports: $1.9 billion (f.o.b., 1988 est.); commodities--petroleum, machinery, base metals, foodstuffs and beverages; partners--Iran, FRG, USSR, France, GDR, Libya, US

      External debt: $5.3 billion in hard currency (1989 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate NA%

      Electricity: 2,867,000 kW capacity; 6,000 million kWh produced, 500 kWh per capita (1989)

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

      Agriculture: accounts for 27% of GDP and one-third of labor force; all major crops (wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas) grown on rainfed land causing wide swings in yields; animal products--beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, milk; not self-sufficient in grain or livestock products

      Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-81), $538 million; Western (non-US) ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $1.0 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $12.3 billion; Communist countries (1970-88), $3.3 billion

      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 1990 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Syria Economy 1990 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Syria Economy 1990 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 07-Feb-03
    Copyright © 2003 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)