Babylonian economy was based upon agriculture, animal husbandry, manufactured goods (chiefly textiles) and foreign trade. The chief economic institutions were the palace and temples, which owned large areas of land and were also involved in manufacturing and trade. There were in addition private landholders and business firms, and goods were exchanged on a barter system with silver as the standard of exchange.

Payment was in kind and silver did not normally change hands. There was a standard system of weights and measure controlled by the crown and many metal and stone weights, often in the shape of ducks, can now be seen in modern museums. The king could and did decree the price of certain goods at certain times but in general the price of items was allowed, to fluctuate according to supply and demand.