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Jordan Economy

    Economy—overview: Jordan is a small Arab country with inadequate supplies of water and other natural resources such as oil and coal. Jordan benefited from increased Arab aid during the oil boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s, when its annual real GNP growth averaged more than 10%. In the remainder of the 1980s, however, reductions in both Arab aid and worker remittances slowed real economic growth to an average of roughly 2% per year. Imports—mainly oil, capital goods, consumer durables, and food—outstripped exports, with the difference covered by aid, remittances, and borrowing. In mid-1989, the Jordanian Government began debt-rescheduling negotiations and agreed to implement an IMF-supported program designed to gradually reduce the budget deficit and implement badly needed structural reforms. The Persian Gulf crisis that began in August 1990, however, aggravated Jordan's already serious economic problems, forcing the government to shelve the IMF program, stop most debt payments, and suspend rescheduling negotiations. Aid from Gulf Arab states, worker remittances, and trade contracted; and refugees flooded the country, producing serious balance-of-payments problems, stunting GDP growth, and straining government resources. The economy rebounded in 1992, largely due to the influx of capital repatriated by workers returning from the Gulf, but recovery was uneven. A preliminary agreement with the IMF in early 1999 will provide new loans over the next three years. Sluggish growth, along with debt, poverty, and unemployment are fundamental ongoing economic problems.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$15.5 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.2% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$3,500 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 6%
    industry: 30%
    services: 64% (1995 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 30% (1998 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 34.7% (1991)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 1.15 million
    note: in addition, there are 300,000 foreign workers (1997 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: industry 11.4%, commerce, restaurants, and hotels 10.5%, construction 10%, transport and communications 8.7%, agriculture 7.4%, other services 52% (1992)

    Unemployment rate: 15% official rate; note—actual rate is 25%-30% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $2.8 billion
    expenditures: $3 billion, including capital expenditures of $672 million (1999 est.)

    Industries: phosphate mining, petroleum refining, cement, potash, light manufacturing

    Industrial production growth rate: -3.4% (1996)

    Electricity—production: 5.52 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 99.64%
    hydro: 0.36%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 5.52 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, citrus, tomatoes, melons, olives; sheep, goats, poultry

    Exports: $1.5 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

    Exports—commodities: phosphates, fertilizers, potash, agricultural products, manufactures

    Exports—partners: Iraq, India, Saudi Arabia, EU, Indonesia, UAE, Syria, Ethiopia

    Imports: $3.9 billion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)

    Imports—commodities: crude oil, machinery, transport equipment, food, live animals, manufactured goods

    Imports—partners: EU, Iraq, US, Japan, Turkey, Malaysia, Syria, China

    Debt—external: $7.5 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $1.097 billion (1995); note—received $320 million from ODA in 1998 (est.)

    Currency: 1 Jordanian dinar (JD) = 1,000 fils

    Exchange rates: Jordanian dinars (JD) per US$1—0.7090 (January 1999-1996), 0.7005 (1995), 0.6987 (1994), 0.6928 (1993)
    note: since May 1989, the dinar has been pegged to a basket of currencies

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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