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Barbados Economy

    Economy—overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. The start of the Port Charles Marina project in Speightstown helped the tourism industry continue to expand in 1996-98. Offshore finance and informatics are important foreign exchange earners, and there is also a light manufacturing sector. The government continues its efforts to reduce the unacceptably high unemployment rate, encourage direct foreign investment, and privatize remaining state-owned enterprises.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$2.9 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$11,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 6%
    industry: 15%
    services: 79% (1996)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.6% (1997)

    Labor force: 136,000 (1998 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 75%, industry 15%, agriculture 10% (1996 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 12% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $725.5 million
    expenditures: $750.6 million, including capital expenditures of $126.3 million (FY97/98 est.)

    Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

    Industrial production growth rate: 0.8% (1996)

    Electricity—production: 600 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 600 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton

    Exports: $280 million (1997)

    Exports—commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing

    Exports—partners: Caricom 34.8%, US 18.4%, UK 16.6%, Canada 4.4% (1996)

    Imports: $982 million (1997)

    Imports—commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components

    Imports—partners: US 40.5%, Caricom 14.7%, UK 8.4%, Canada 5% (1996)

    Debt—external: $581.4 million (1996)

    Economic aid—recipient: $9.1 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Barbadian dollar (Bds$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars (Bds$) per US$1—2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the dollar)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)