Economy of Syria

GDP calculated at purchasing power parity of currencies in 1999 – 42.2 billion US dollars, GDP per capita – 2650 dollars. According to an estimate for 2001, GDP 54.2 billion US dollars. The growth of real GDP in 1990-99 was 5.7%. The share of Syria in world GDP is insignificant – less than 1%.

Sectoral structure of the economy in terms of contribution to GDP (2000,%): mining and manufacturing – 26.9, agriculture – 23.9, trade, restaurants and hotels – 18.6, transport, communications, warehousing – 12.6.

The number of economically active population in 1999 amounted to 4095 thousand people. (including persons aged 10 and over). Most of it was employed in agriculture – 28.4%, in the service sector – 22.1%, in trade, restaurants and hotels – 15.7%, in the manufacturing industry – 12.6%.

Despite the limited natural resources, the extractive industry has been the most dynamic sector of the economy in recent years. The country produces oil (35-40 million tons per year), phosphates, rock salt, gypsum, building stone, etc. Oil accounts for St. 90% of the production volume of the extractive industry.

According to cheeroutdoor, the traditional sectors of the Syrian economy are the textile industry, mainly cotton, as well as the food industry, which work mainly on local raw materials, there are leather and shoe factories. An important place among the manufacturing industries is occupied by oil refining, cement, production of building materials, chemical and petrochemical. Relatively new, rapidly developing industries include machine-building, electrical engineering, electronics, but production in these industries is designed mainly for the use of imported raw materials, materials and component parts.

In crop production, the main types of commercial products are cereals, the largest areas are occupied by wheat. Barley, corn, and sorghum are also grown. Of the legumes, lentils and peas, beans, and beans are common.

Animal husbandry is the second most important branch of agriculture. Dairy farming is mainly developed. The number of cattle, including camels, totals up to 800 thousand heads. The number of small cattle fluctuates in different years from 10 to 12 million heads. Poultry farming, beekeeping, breeding of silkworms on individual farms are also developed.

Syria is a major producer of vegetables and melons, as well as a traditional horticultural center. Olives, grapes, apples, apricots, cherries, dates, citrus fruits, almonds, pistachios are grown.

Among industrial crops, the leading role belongs to cotton. The second largest cultivated area is sesame. Syria is known as a major producer of world famous tobacco varieties. Beet growing and the cultivation of sunflower seeds are considered promising areas.

The total length of railways is 2750 km, incl. with standard gauge – 2423 km. All roads, except for narrow-gauge ones, are diesel-powered. The fleet of locomotives includes 140 units. (mostly Soviet production).

The total length of motor roads is 41,451 km. The length of paved roads is 26,300 km, including Extra class – 880 km (1999).

The length of pipelines for pumping oil is 1304 km, oil products 515 km. Some of the pipelines are used for the transit of crude oil from Iran and Saudi Arabia to the ports of the Mediterranean Sea.

Own maritime transport consists of several dry cargo carriers of medium tonnage, carrying out cargo transportation within the Mediterranean basin. The functions of a fairly numerous small size fleet are limited to cabotage transportation in the sea section from Turkey to Lebanon. Major ports of international importance are Latakia and Tartus, as well as Baniyas, used as an oil loading terminal. The marine fleet consists of 143 vessels with a total capacity of 482.9 thousand tons.

The country has 24 airports with paved runways (2001). Damascus International Airport is equipped with the latest technology and is able to receive the most advanced liners. The capacity of the airport is 2 million passengers per year. All R. 1990s aircraft fleet consisted of 16 aircraft.

In 1999, Syrian airlines carried 580,591 passengers on international routes and 87,763 on domestic routes.

In the field of communications, new modern technologies for transmitting information are quite widely used, incl. digital electronic switches, numerical software systems, coaxial cables, etc. Telephone communications have been reconstructed. All R. 1990s there were more than 995 thousand subscribers. The number of automatic lines in 1997 amounted to 1.3 million. The number of televisions 1.05 million, the number of Internet users 60 thousand people. (2002). A prominent place in the system of international communications belongs to satellite communications.

Supply and marketing operations are carried out through the Ministry of Supply, consumer cooperation and supply and marketing cooperatives. The latter carry out wholesale purchases of machinery, fertilizers, etc., and then deliver them to consumers. There are many shops, malls, and markets popular with tourists, incl. Hamadiyah, Suk-al-Khal, Al-Attarin, etc.

In 2000, more than 3 million tourists visited Syria, mainly from Arab countries, and tourism revenues amounted to 747 million US dollars.

According to the program of economic reforms adopted in July 2002, the annual growth of income from tourism until 2004 is planned at 13%. With the help of foreign capital, as well as private national investors, it is planned to build several modern hotels in Damascus, Aleppo, a tourist complex in Tartus, on Lake Assad.

Modern economic policy is characterized by the reshaping of the foundations of state entrepreneurship, as well as the entire system of state participation in economic activity, and a gradual transition to a market economy.

The modern banking system of Syria consists of a central and commercial banks, as well as 4 specialized banks: mortgage, industrial, agricultural and consumer credit. The Central Bank exercises control over the issue of money and money circulation. In April 2001, a resolution was adopted allowing the creation of private banks in the country.

The state budget consists of two parts – the current budget and the capital investment (development) budget. Up to 3/4 of the capital investment budget is covered by foreign loans and subsidies. The Syrian budget is chronically in deficit. The draft budget for 2001 (based on an oil price of $24 per barrel) provided for spending in the amount of 322 billion sir. pounds, of which 161 billion are investment spending, 123.68 billion are current expenditures and 37.32 billion are external debt service payments, as well as price support subsidies. Revenues were planned at 312.8 billion sir. pounds.

The chronic difficulty with the mobilization of funds to the budget is reflected directly in the tax policy pursued by the state, giving rise to a constant increase in taxes and an expansion of the circle of taxpayers. In con. 1990s the share of taxes in the total income of St. 32%.

The tense political situation in the region is forcing the government to increase budget allocations for military purposes, which is one of the reasons for the increase in external debt (22 billion US dollars, according to 2001).

The standard of living of the population in the 1990s rose somewhat. GNP per capita increased in real terms by an average of 3.3% per year. Inflation in 1990-99 was 8.7%. Industrial wage – $1,135 per month. Final consumer spending in 2000 amounted to 579 billion sir. pounds, or 64.6% of GDP, gross investment of 155.7 billion sir. pounds, 17.3% of GDP.

The trade balance in 2001 was active, exports – 5.1 billion US dollars, imports – 3.7 billion US dollars. Main exports: crude oil, vegetables and fruits, textiles, chemical products. Main export partners: Italy (26.6%), France (20.6%), Turkey (10.3%), Saudi Arabia (9.3%). Finished industrial and consumer goods are imported, incl. machinery and equipment, rolling of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, tools, timber, food. Main partners: Germany (7.0%), France (5.7%), Italy (5.6%), Turkey (5.0%).

Economy of Syria