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Turkmenistan Economy

    Economy—overview: Turkmenistan is largely desert country with nomadic cattle raising, intensive agriculture in irrigated oases, and huge gas and oil resources. One-half of its irrigated land is planted in cotton, making it the world's tenth largest producer. It also possesses the world's fifth largest reserves of natural gas and substantial oil resources. Until the end of 1993, Turkmenistan had experienced less economic disruption than other former Soviet states because its economy received a boost from higher prices for oil and gas and a sharp increase in hard currency earnings. In 1994, Russia's refusal to export Turkmen gas to hard currency markets and mounting debts of its major customers in the former USSR for gas deliveries contributed to a sharp fall in industrial production and caused the budget to shift from a surplus to a slight deficit. The economy bottomed out in 1996, but high inflation continued. Furthermore, with an authoritarian ex-communist regime in power and a tribally based social structure, Turkmenistan has taken a cautious approach to economic reform, hoping to use gas and cotton sales to sustain its inefficient economy. In 1996, the government set in place a stabilization program aimed at a unified and market-based exchange rate, allocation of government credits by auction, and strict limits on budget deficits. Privatization goals remain limited. Turkmenistan is working hard to open new gas export channels through Iran and Turkey to Europe, but these will take many years to realize. In 1998 Turkmenistan faced revenue shortfalls due to the continued lack of adequate export routes for natural gas and obligations on extensive short-term external debt.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$7 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 5% (1998)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,630 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 18%
    industry: 50%
    services: 32% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.7%
    highest 10%: 26.9% (1993)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 19.8% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 2.34 million (1996)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture and forestry 44%, industry and construction 19%, other 37% (1996)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $521 million
    expenditures: $548 million, including capital expenditures of $83 million (1996 est.)

    Industries: natural gas, oil, petroleum products, textiles, food processing

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 9.484 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 99.96%
    hydro: 0.04%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 7.134 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 2.7 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 350 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: cotton, grain; livestock

    Exports: $689 million (1997 est.)

    Exports—commodities: natural gas, cotton, petroleum products, textiles, electricity, carpets

    Exports—partners: FSU, Hong Kong, Switzerland, US, Germany, Turkey (1996)

    Imports: $1.1 billion (1997 est.)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and parts, grain and food, plastics and rubber, consumer durables, textiles

    Imports—partners: FSU, US, Turkey, Germany, Cyprus (1996)

    Debt—external: $1.7 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $27.2 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Turkmen manat (TMM) = 100 tenesi

    Exchange rates: manats per US$1—5,350 (January 1999), 4,070 (January 1997), 2,400 (January 1996)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)