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    Soviet Union Economy - 1989

      Overview: General Secretary Gorbachev's program of economic restructuring--perestroika--has been slowly implemented and by mid-1989 had led to no discernible improvement in economic growth rates. In 1988 the economy grew by 1.5%, little better than the poor performance of 1987. Industrial output rose by 2.4%, about average for the post-Brezhnev era. Agricultural production fell by 2% in 1988; moderate gains in the livestock sector were not enough to offset poor harvests of potatoes and other vegetables and a reduced grain harvest. Urban consumers continue to experience shortages of fruits, potatoes, vegetables, and high-quality nonfood consumer goods. The highly centralized bureaucratic planning and administration of the economy have led to inefficiencies, technological backwardness, and sluggish growth for many years. Gorbachev's economic restructuring is aimed at revitalizing growth and raising quality by (a) decentralizing many allocation decisions to enterprises and households; (b) modernizing the informational flow system; and (c) revamping motivational patterns. Gorbachev, however, has stated he will not dismantle the system of socialist ownership and central planning nor give up the Communist Party's monopoly on power. Skeptical Western observers think he is seeking the benefits of the market system without adopting its fundamental operating roles.

      GNP: $2,500 billion, per capita $8,700; real growth rate 1.5% (1988)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1988)

      Unemployment rate: officially, no unemployment

      Budget: revenues $575 billion; expenditures $710 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1988 est.)

      Exports: $107.7 billion (f.o.b., 1987); @m5commodities--petroleum and petroleum products, natural gas, metals, wood, agricultural products, and a wide variety of manufactured goods (primarily capital goods and arms); @m5partners--Eastern Europe 50%, EC 12%, Cuba 6%, US, Afghanistan (1987)

      Imports: $96.0 billion (f.o.b., 1987); @m5commodities--grain and other agricultural products, machinery and equipment, steel products (including large-diameter pipe), consumer manufactures; @m5partners--Eastern Europe 56%, EC 11%, Cuba, China, US (1987)

      External debt: $26.4 billion, net (1987)

      Industrial production: growth rate 2.4% (1988)

      Electricity: 348,000,000 kW capacity; 1,730,000 million kWh produced, 6,040 kWh per capita (1988)

      Industries: diversified, highly developed capital goods industries; consumer goods industries comparatively less developed

      Agriculture: grain (especially wheat), potatoes, sugar beets, cotton, sunflowers, flax; degree of self-sufficiency depends on fluctuations in crop yields, particularly grain; large grain importer over past decade

      Aid: donor--extended to non-Communist less developed countries (1954-87), $40.6 billion; extended to other Communist countries (1954-86), $143.9 billion

      Currency: ruble (plural--rubles); 1 ruble (R) = 100 kopeks

      Exchange rates: rubles (R) per US$1--0.609 (November 1988), 0.633 (1987), 0.704 (1986), 0.838 (1985); the exchange rate is administratively set and should not be used to convert domestic rubles to dollars

      Fiscal year: calendar year

      NOTE: The information regarding Soviet Union on this page is re-published from the 1989 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Soviet Union Economy 1989 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Soviet Union Economy 1989 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 15-Apr-03
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