The Economy of Syria

The Economy of Syria

Syrian Economy

Economy - overview: The Syrian economy grew by an estimated 2.4% in real terms in 2008 led by the petroleum and agricultural sectors, which together account for about one-half of GDP. Higher crude oil prices countered declining oil production and led to higher budgetary and export receipts. Damascus has implemented modest economic reforms in the past few years, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating all of the multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, most notably gasoline and cement, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange - which is set to begin operations in 2009. In October 2007, for example, Damascus raised the price of subsidized gasoline by 20%, then instituted a rationing system in 2008. In addition, President ASAD signed legislative decrees to encourage corporate ownership reform, and to allow the Central Bank to issue Treasury bills and bonds for government debt. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production, high unemployment and inflation, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.


GDP - real growth rate: 4.8% (2008 est.) 4.4% (2007 est.) 5.1% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 22.5% industry: 27.9% services: 49.6% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 5.547 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 19.2% industry: 14.5% services: 66.3% (2006 est.)

Unemployment rate: 9% (2008 est.)

Budget: revenues: $10.9 billion expenditures: $13.77 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, car assembly

Industrial production growth rate: 3.2% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 40.5 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 39.5 billion kWh (2007)

Electricity - exports: 991 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 1.4 billion kWh (2007)

Oil - production: 381,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - consumption: 229,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - exports: 155,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - imports: 160,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - proved reserves: 2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 6.5 billion cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 4.4 billion cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - exports: NA cu m

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 240.7 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk

Exports: $13.12 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat

Exports - partners: Iraq 30%, Lebanon 10%, Germany 9.7%, Italy 8%, Egypt 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, France 4.9% (2007)

Imports: $14.32 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper

Imports - partners: Saudi Arabia 12%, China 8.7%, Egypt 6.2%, Italy 6%, UAE 5.9%, Ukraine 4.8%, Russia 4.8%, Germany 4.7%, Iran 4.3% (2007)

Debt - external: $6.72 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 46.5281 (2008 est.), 50.0085 (2007), 51.689 (2006), 50 (2005), 48.5 (2004) note: data for 2004-06 are the public sector rate; data for 2002-03 are the parallel market rate in 'Amman and Beirut; the official rate for repaying loans was 11.25 Syrian pounds per US dollars during 2004-06,

Fiscal year:

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