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flag Cyprus Cyprus: Economic and Political Outline

In this page: Economic Indicators | Foreign Trade in Figures | Sources of General Economic Information | Political Outline


Economic Indicators

Cyprus has an open free-market economy, which is based on services. Cyprus became a full member of the EU on May 1, 2004, which has been an important milestone in its economic development. For several years, the growth rate of its GDP has been stagnant, but the Greek crisis and the extreme weakness of the national banking system triggered a negative growth of -8.7% in 2013. This recession should remain in 2014 with a growth rate of -4%. The European rescue package singled out the bank deposit and the people feel betrayed by Europe.

The current situation in Europe and specifically the Greek crisis have profoundly affected the country since 2011 and has continued to hinder its development in 2013. Rating agencies have lowered the country's note and since mid-2011, the country no longer enjoys access to the financial markets to obtain refinancing options. The powerful banking sector was strongly exposed to the Greek risk. Generally, Cyprus remains largely dependent on the economic health of its neighbours. The unemployment rate, which for a long time remained under 5%, skyrocketed from 9.5% in 2012 to 16.1% in 2013.

The debt of Cyprus went from 61.3% of GDP in 2010 to 124% in 2014.

Main Indicators 20112012201320142015 (e)
GDP (billions USD) 24.8822.7821.92e21.34e21.41
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 0.4-2.4-5.4e-3.2e0.4
GDP per Capita (USD) 28,85826,1312423,95523,783
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 71.586.6111.5e117.4e126.0
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force) 7.911.915.916.616.1
Current Account (billions USD) -0.84-1.57-0.41-0.23-0.18
Current Account (in % of GDP) -3.4-6.9-1.9e-1.1e-0.8

Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database , Last Available Data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

Main Sectors of Industry

In the past two decades, Cypriot economy has shifted from agriculture to light manufacturing and most importantly services.

In 2013, the agricultural sector contributed around 2.4% to the GDP and employed 3.7% of the active population.  The traditional agricultural sector suffers from persistant droughts. Only 15% of the land is arable in Cyprus. The main crops are wine grapes, potatoes, cotton and fruits. Mineral resources are limited and include mainly copper, pyrites, chrome, asbestos, and gypsum.

The manufacturing industry (mainly industrial food-processing, paper, chemical products, textiles, metal products, and petroleum refining) accounted for 15.9% of the GDP in 2013, but its competitiveness is declining mainly due to high-cost labor. It currently employs 19.6% of the active population.

The tertiary sector contributes to 81,7% of the GDP and employed 77% of the active population in 2013. Tourism and maritime transportation are considered to be the two pillars of the Cypriot economy. Offshore activities are led by foreign-capital companies based in Cyprus, whose commercial activities are executed exclusively outside Cyprus, giving them substantial tax benefits. Cyprus has the sixth largest shipping fleet in the world.

Currently, the sectors of tourism, real estate and financial services are the main industries in Cyprus.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 2.9 20.2 76.9
Value Added (in % of GDP) 2.1 19.6 78.3
Value Added (Annual % Change) -1.9 4.1 3.7

Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.

Monetary Indicators 20092010201120122013
Euro (EUR) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 0.720.760.720.780.76

Source: CIA - The world factbook - Last Available Data.


Learn more about Market Analyses about Cyprus on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.

Indicator of Economic Freedom


The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Moderately Free
World Rank:
Regional Rank:

Distribution of Economic freedom in the world
Source: 2014 Index of Economic freedom, Heritage Foundation


Business environment ranking


The business rankings model measures the quality or attractiveness of the business environment in the 82 countries covered by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Country Forecast reports. It examines ten separate criteria or categories, covering the political environment, the macroeconomic environment, market opportunities, policy towards free enterprise and competition, policy towards foreign investment, foreign trade and exchange controls, taxes, financing, the labour market and infrastructure.

World Rank:

Source: The Economist - Business Environment Rankings 2014-2018


Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.


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Foreign Trade in Figures

The geographical location of Cyprus (the country being a bridge between West and East), along with its good airline and telecommunication infrastructures, have enabled the country to turn itself into an important regional and international business center.

The country's foreign trade is mainly oriented towards the EU, its main trading partner which represented more than 50% of its trade in 2013. Thanks to its favorable location at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Cyprus also has solid trade relations with Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Cyprus' three main export partners are Greece, Israel and the UK. The main export commodities are pharmaceutical products, electric & electronic equipment, as well as agricultural products, livestock products and their derivatives. The three main import partners are: Greece, the UK and Germany. Cyprus mainly imports hydrocarbons, vehicles, machinery, iron and steel.

Cyprus' trade balance is traditionally in deficit because the country has to import extensively in order to satisfy domestic demand. Cyprus also depends on imports for its energy supplies. Exports are nevertheless vital for the country's economy.  As a fact, the Cyprus territory is not too extensive and the international trade market is very important.

Foreign Trade Indicators 20092010201120122013
Imports of Goods (million USD) 7,8358,5698,6777,2966,292
Exports of Goods (million USD) 1,2581,4021,8181,7371,959
Imports of Services (million USD) 4,0473,1803,6313,5853,279
Exports of Services (million USD) 9,6657,8318,5247,7817,527
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -19.33.1---
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) -11.40.6---
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 45.646.6---
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 40.340.1---
Trade Balance (million USD) -5,275-5,410-5,202-4,154-3,337
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -1,281-1,444-1,059-712408
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 85.886.7---

Source: WTO - World Trade Organization ; World Bank , Last Available Data


Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Greece 16.6%
United Kingdom 13.0%
Israel 3.9%
United States 3.6%
Germany 2.6%
See More Countries 60.4%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Greece 23.2%
Israel 13.5%
Italy 7.0%
Germany 6.5%
United Kingdom 6.4%
See More Countries 43.4%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data


Main Products

- bn USD of products exported in 2013
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 13.4%
Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes;...Powered aircraft e.g. helicopters and aeroplanes; spacecraft, incl. satellites, and suborbital and spacecraft launch vehicles 9.8%
Cheese and curdCheese and curd 4.8%
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 4.3%
Potatoes, fresh or chilledPotatoes, fresh or chilled 3.3%
See More Products 64.4%
- bn USD of products imported in 2013
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 27.5%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses incl. those in the form of transdermal administration or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.3%
Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally...Motor cars and other motor vehicles principally designed for the transport of persons, incl. station wagons and racing cars (excl. motor vehicles of heading 8702) 2.6%
Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony,...Transmission apparatus for radio-telephony, radio-telegraphy, radio-broadcasting or television, whether or not incorporating reception apparatus or sound recording or reproducing apparatus; television cameras; still image video cameras and other video camera recorders; digital cameras 1.8%
Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of...Cigars, cheroots, cigarillos and cigarettes of tobacco or of tobacco substitutes 1.5%
See More Products 63.2%

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

See More Products
More imports (Intracen Data)
More exports (Intracen Data)

Main Services

Source: Comtrade, Last Available Data

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Sources of General Economic Information

Ministry of Finance
Statistical Office
Statistical Service
Central Bank
Central Bank of Cyprus
Stock Exchange
Cyprus Stock Exchange
Search Engines
Your Cyprus Portal
Economic Portals

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Political Outline

Executive Power
The President is both the chief of the state and the head of the government. The President is elected by popular vote for a five-year term and holds the executive powers. The Council of Ministers is appointed jointly by the President and Vice president. Under the 1960 constitution, the post of Vice President is reserved for a Turkish-Cypriot and thus lies vacant as of now.
Legislative Power
Legislative power in the Republic of Cyprus (internationally recognized) is excercised by the House of Representatives with its 80 members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms.
Main Political Parties
KISOS (Movement for Social Democracy United Democratic Union of Centre), AKEL (Progressive Party of the Working People or Communist Party), DIKO (Democratic Party), DISY (Democratic Rally), EURO.KO (European Party), ADIK (Fighting Democratic Movement), Green Party of Cyprus, EDE (United Democrats Movement)
Current Political Leaders
Chief of state and head of government: President Nicos ANASTASIADIS (since 28 February 2013)
Next Election Dates
Presidential: February 2018

Indicator of Freedom of the Press


The world rankings, published annually, measures the violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire sent to partner organizations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and activists of human rights, including the main criteria - 44 in total - to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
1 place down compared to 2013

Source: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2014, Reporters Without Borders


Indicator of Political Freedom


The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Political Freedom:

Map of freedom 2014
Source: Freedom House


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Last Updates: October 2014