Prior to the conflict, Syria was classified by the World Bank as a lower middle income country.? Syria’s economy before the crisis was based on agriculture, industry, oil, trade, and tourism. In the years before 2011 the economy faced considerable challenges due to drought, rapid population growth, corruption, and decreasing oil production – economic grievances are considered an underlying factor for the 2011 uprisings.?
The conflict has significantly impacted Syria’s economy, with key challenges including the high level of unemployment, reduced rates of growth, falling productivity in the agriculture sector, and real or suppressed inflation.? In 2015, the fiscal deficit (excluding subsidies) stood at 20% of GDP according to government data.? By the end of 2014, the estimated total losses since the beginning of the conflict stood at USD 202.6 billion. Syria’s economy is now dependent on imports, financed mainly through external loans and financial facilities.?
Gross National Income per capita: USD 1,573 in 2013 (a reduction from USD 2,745 in 2010).?
GDP per capita: In 2010, GDP per capita stood at USD 4,816, with a GDP growth rate of 3.9%.? Syria’s GDP is estimated to have declined by 16% compared to pre-crisis levels.?
GDP composition by sector of origin: In 2010, mining, manufacturing, and utilities accounted for 28% of GDP, wholesale and retail trade 22%, agriculture 20%, and government services 10%. The conflict has significantly impacted the GDP composition by sector: in 2014 agriculture and government services accounted for 46% of total GDP.?
Currency: Syrian pound (SYP). The Syrian pound has depreciated by about 80% since the onset of conflict. As of November 2015, USD 1 equals 189 Syrian pounds.?
Inflation: Inflation averaged 51% between January 2012 and March 2015.?
Budget: Public expenditure accounted for 27.2% of GDP in 2014. The budget deficit stood at 40.5% in 2014.?
Banking: By the end of 2011, Syria’s total banking assets accounted for USD 40 billion, with 27% in private banks. Even before the conflict Syria had one of the smallest banking systems in the Middle East, with only a minority holding a bank account (2011: 157 deposit accounts per 1,000 adults). Since 2011, sanctions have been imposed on the Central Bank of Syria by the EU, US, and Arab League.?
Unemployment: Unemployment rates increased from just under 10% in 2010, to almost 60% in late 2014.?
Labour force per occupation: Industrial sector: 16%, agricultural sector: 17%, service sector: 67% in 2008.?
Main export products: Prior to the conflict: crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fibre, textiles, clothing, meat and live animals, wheat (CIA World Factbook 2015). In 2014: phosphates, sheep, fruit and vegetables, and dairy products – Syria’s exports dropped from USD 2 billion in 2011 to USD 98 million in 2013.?
Main export partners: Iraq, European Union, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon were Syria’s main export partners in 2010.?
Main import products: Prior to the conflict: machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper.? In 2014: wheat, petroleum products, food supplies, medicines, and electric power machinery.?
Main import partners: European Union, Turkey, China, Ukraine, and Russia were Syria’s main import partners in 2010.?
Services: In 2010, services accounted for 28% of the labour force, and 68% of the female labour force.?
Agriculture: Wheat, olives, and cotton are the main crops.?Agricultural production has dropped significantly as a result of the conflict and the five-year drought leading to 2011. Syria is now dependent on cereal imports, while it was previously self-sustaining in addition to producing a small surplus for export.?Wheat production in 2015 was 40% lower than pre-crisis levels.? However, as other sectors have been severely affected, agriculture now accounts for the largest part of national output.?
Key industries: The mining sector, including oil production, has seen a 94% contraction in real terms since 2010. Revenues from oil exports decreased from USD 4.7 billion to an estimated USD 0.14 billion in 2015. Gas production has fallen by around one-third.?
Remittances: In 2010, remittances accounted for 2.4% of GDP (USD 1.6 billion), with 93% coming from the Middle East and North Africa.?