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Yemen Economy Profile 2019

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Economy - overview

Yemen is a low-income country that faces difficult long-term challenges to stabilizing and growing its economy, and the current conflict has only exacerbated those issues. The ongoing war has halted Yemen’s exports, pressured the currency’s exchange rate, accelerated inflation, severely limited food and fuel imports, and caused widespread damage to infrastructure. The conflict has also created a severe humanitarian crisis - the world’s largest cholera outbreak currently at nearly 1 million cases, more than 7 million people at risk of famine, and more than 80% of the population in need of humanitarian assistance.

Prior to the start of the conflict in 2014, Yemen was highly dependent on declining oil and gas resources for revenue. Oil and gas earnings accounted for roughly 25% of GDP and 65% of government revenue. The Yemeni Government regularly faced annual budget shortfalls and tried to diversify the Yemeni economy through a reform program designed to bolster non-oil sectors of the economy and foreign investment. In July 2014, the government continued reform efforts by eliminating some fuel subsidies and in August 2014, the IMF approved a three-year, $570 million Extended Credit Facility for Yemen.

However, the conflict that began in 2014 stalled these reform efforts and ongoing fighting continues to accelerate the country’s economic decline. In September 2016, President HADI announced the move of the main branch of Central Bank of Yemen from Sanaa to Aden where his government could exert greater control over the central bank’s dwindling resources. Regardless of which group controls the main branch, the central bank system is struggling to function. Yemen’s Central Bank’s foreign reserves, which stood at roughly $5.2 billion prior to the conflict, have declined to negligible amounts. The Central Bank can no longer fully support imports of critical goods or the country’s exchange rate. The country also is facing a growing liquidity crisis and rising inflation. The private sector is hemorrhaging, with almost all businesses making substantial layoffs. Access to food and other critical commodities such as medical equipment is limited across the country due to security issues on the ground. The Social Welfare Fund, a cash transfer program for Yemen’s neediest, is no longer operational and has not made any disbursements since late 2014.

Yemen will require significant international assistance during and after the protracted conflict to stabilize its economy. Long-term challenges include a high population growth rate, high unemployment, declining water resources, and severe food scarcity.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$73.63 billion (2017 est.)
$78.28 billion (2016 est.)
$90.63 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$31.27 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
-5.9% (2017 est.)
-13.6% (2016 est.)
-16.7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$2,500 (2017 est.)
$2,700 (2016 est.)
$3,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
-1.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
-3.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
-4.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 116.6% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 17.6% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 2.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 7.5% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -43.9% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 20.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 11.8% (2017 est.)
services: 67.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
54% (2014 est.)
Labor force
7.425 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation

note: most people are employed in agriculture and herding; services, construction, industry, and commerce account for less than one-fourth of the labor force

Unemployment rate
27% (2014 est.)
35% (2003 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 24.5%
male: 23.5%
female: 34.6% (2014 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.6%
highest 10%: 30.3% (2008 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
37.9 (2009 est.)
37.3 (1999 est.)
revenues: 2.821 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.458 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-5.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
74.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
68.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
24.7% (2017 est.)
-12.6% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate


Commercial bank prime lending rate
30% (31 December 2017 est.)
27% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$4.736 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.718 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$4.736 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.718 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$2.326 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.515 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares


Agriculture - products
grain, fruits, vegetables, pulses, qat, coffee, cotton; dairy products, livestock (sheep, goats, cattle, camels), poultry; fish
crude oil production and petroleum refining; small-scale production of cotton textiles, leather goods; food processing; handicrafts; aluminum products; cement; commercial ship repair; natural gas production
Industrial production growth rate
8.9% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$1.236 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.868 billion (2016 est.)
$384.5 million (2017 est.)
$940 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
crude oil, coffee, dried and salted fish, liquefied natural gas
Exports - partners
Egypt 29.4%, Thailand 16.7%, Belarus 13.5%, Oman 10.5%, UAE 6.5%, Saudi Arabia 5% (2017)
$4.079 billion (2017 est.)
$3.117 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
food and live animals, machinery and equipment, chemicals
Imports - partners
UAE 12.2%, China 12.1%, Turkey 8.7%, Brazil 7.3%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, Argentina 5.5%, India 4.7% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$245.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$592.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$7.068 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.181 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home


Exchange rates
Yemeni rials (YER) per US dollar -
275 (2017 est.)
214.9 (2016 est.)
214.9 (2015 est.)
228 (2014 est.)
214.89 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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