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Syria Economy 2008

Economy - overview: The Syrian economy grew by an estimated 3.3% in real terms in 2007 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%, and may institute 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 (purchasing power parity): $90.37 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $37.76 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.3% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,700 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 24% industry: 27.9% services: 48.2% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 5.462 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 19.2% industry: 14.5% services: 66.3% (2006 est.)
Unemployment rate: 9% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%
Investment (gross fixed): 21.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $8.393 billion expenditures: $11.21 billion (2007 est.)
Public debt: 37.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 12.2% (2007 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 8% (31 December 2005)
Stock of money: $58.84 billion note: This number reflects the greatly overvalued official exchange rate of 11.23 Syrian pounds per dollar. At the unofficial rate of 50 Syrian pounds per dollar, the stock of Syrian pounds would equal US$13.22 billion and Syria's velocity of money (the number of times money turns over in the course of a year) would be three, in line with the velocity of money for other countries in the region. (31 December 2006)
Stock of quasi money: $45.93 billion (31 December 2006)
Stock of domestic credit: $50.92 billion (31 December 2006)
Agriculture - products: wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets; beef, mutton, eggs, poultry, milk
Industries: petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining, cement, oil seeds crushing, car assembly
Industrial production growth rate: 2.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 34.94 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption: 34 billion kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports: 986 million kWh (2006 est.)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)
Oil - production: 433,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - consumption: 261,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 254,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - imports: 160,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves: 2.5 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)
Natural gas - production: 7.8 billion cu m (2007 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 4.4 billion cu m (2007 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.)
Current account balance: $908 million (2007 est.)
Exports: $11.14 billion f.o.b. (2007 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: $10.5 billion f.o.b. (2007 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)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $6.046 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external: $6.633 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $NA
Currency (code): Syrian pound (SYP)
Exchange rates: Syrian pounds (SYP) per US dollar - 50.0085 (2007), 51.689 (2006), 50 (2005), 48.5 (2004), 52.8 (2003) 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,

NOTE: The economy information regarding Syria on this page is re-published from the 2008 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Syria Economy 2008 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Syria Economy 2008 should be addressed to the CIA.