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    Syria Economy 1997

      Economy - overview Sheltered from the pressures of the international marketplace for almostthree decades, Syria's predominantly statist economy is on a weak footingbecause of Damascus's failure to implement extensive economic reform. Afteran economic rebound in the early 1990s in the wake of the Persian Gulf war,economic growth has slowed as the traditionally volatile economy has onceagain slumped. Current account and budget deficits and inflation are increasing.The dominant agricultural sector remains underdeveloped, with roughly 80%of agricultural land still dependent on rain-fed sources. Although Syria hassufficient water supplies in the aggregate at normal levels of precipitation,the great distance between major water supplies and population centers posesserious distribution problems, and the water problem is exacerbated by rapidpopulation growth, industrial expansion, and increased water pollution. Unemploymentremains a nagging problem because about 60% of the population is under theage of 20, ensuring a steady flow of job seekers into the already tight labormarket. Private investment is critical to the modernization of the agricultural,energy, and export sectors, particularly because Damascus is saddled witha heavy foreign debt. Oil production is leveling off, and the efforts of thenonoil sector to penetrate international markets have fallen short. Syria'sinadequate infrastructure, outmoded technological base, and weak educationalsystem hamper competition with neighbors such as Jordan and Israel. The dominantpublic sector continues to be plagued by labor, financial, and managementproblems, and much of the private sector is hobbled by a shortage of capital.The economic benefits of any peace treaty with Israel will depend in largepart on the pace of economic reform.

      GDP purchasing power parity - $98.3 billion (1996 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 5.2% (1996 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,300 (1996 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: 28%
      industry: 18%
      services: 54% (1994)

      Inflation rate - consumer price index 20% (1996 est.)

      Labor force
      total: 4.7 million (1995 est.)
      by occupation: services 40%, agriculture 40%, industry 20% (1996 est.)

      Unemployment rate 9% (1994 est.)

      revenues: $3 billion
      expenditures : $3.7 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1995 est.)

      Industries petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphaterock mining

      Industrial production growth rate 4.3% (1994)

      Electricity - capacity 4.16 million kW (1994)

      Electricity - production 14.25 billion kWh (1994)

      Electricity - consumption per capita 902 kWh (1995 est.)

      Agriculture - products wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas; beef, lamb, eggs, poultry,milk

      total value: $4.4 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
      commodities: petroleum 56%, food and live animals 16%, textiles 16% (1994 est.)
      partners: EU 57% (Germany 17%, Italy 16%, France 11%), Lebanon 14%, Saudi Arabia7% (1995 est.)

      total value : $5.2 billion (c.i.f., 1996 est.)
      commodities: machinery 25%, food and live animals 15%, transport equipment 12%, chemicals8% (1994 est.)
      partners: EU 33% (Italy 9%, Germany 8%, France 4%), South Korea 4.5%, US 4%, Japan3% (1995 est.)

      Debt - external $22 billion (1996 est.)

      Economic aid
      recipient: $4.2 billion (1990-92)

      Currency 1 Syrian pound (�S) = 100 piastres

      Exchange rates Syrian pounds (�S) per US$1 - 41.9 (January 1997); official fixedrate 11.225

      Fiscal year calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Syria on this page is re-published from the 1997 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Syria Economy 1997 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Syria Economy 1997 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 06-Mar-02
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