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Ecuador Economy

    Economy—overview: Ecuador has substantial oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primary products such as oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. Ecuador joined the World Trade Organization in 1996, but has failed to comply with many of its accession commitments. In recent years, growth has been uneven due to ill-conceived fiscal stabilization measures. The populist government of Abdala BUCARAM Ortiz proposed a major currency reform in 1996, but popular discontent with BUCARAM'S austerity measures and rampant official corruption led to his replacement by National Congress with Fabian ALARCON in February 1997. ALARCON adopted a minimalist economic program that put off necessary reforms until August 1998 when President Jamil MAHUAD was elected. MAHAUD inherited an economy in crisis due to mismanagement, El Nino damage to key export sectors such as agriculture, and low world commodity prices in the wake of the Asian financial crisis. MAHAUD announced a fiscal austerity package and expressed interest in an IMF agreement but faces major difficulties in promoting economic growth, including possible political objections to further reform.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$58.7 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 1% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,800 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 12%
    industry: 37%
    services: 51% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 35% (1994 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.3%
    highest 10%: 37.6% (1994)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 43% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 4.2 million

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 29%, manufacturing 18%, commerce 15%, services and other activities 38% (1990)

    Unemployment rate: 12% with widespread underemployment (November 1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: planned $5.1 billion not including revenue from potential privatizations
    expenditures: $5.1 billion (1999)

    Industries: petroleum, food processing, textiles, metal work, paper products, wood products, chemicals, plastics, fishing, lumber

    Industrial production growth rate: 2.4% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 8.45 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 17.16%
    hydro: 82.84%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 8.45 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: bananas, coffee, cocoa, rice, potatoes, manioc (tapioca), plantains, sugarcane; cattle, sheep, pigs, beef, pork, dairy products; balsa wood; fish, shrimp

    Exports: $3.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

    Exports—commodities: petroleum 30%, bananas 26%, shrimp 16%, cut flowers 2%, fish 1.9%

    Exports—partners: US 39%, Latin America 25%, EU countries 22%, Asia 12%

    Imports: $2.9 billion (c.i.f., 1997)

    Imports—commodities: transport equipment, consumer goods, vehicles, machinery, chemicals

    Imports—partners: US 32%, EU 19%, Latin America 35%, Asia 11%

    Debt—external: $12.5 billion (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $695.7 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 sucre (S/) = 100 centavos

    Exchange rates: sucres (S/) per US$1—7,133.1 (January 1999), 5,446.6 (1998), 3,988.3 (1997), 3,189.5 (1996), 2,564.5 (1995), 2,196.7 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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