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Montserrat (overseas territory of the UK) Economy

    Economy—overview: Severe volcanic activity, which began in July 1995, put a damper on this small, open economy throughout 1996-98. A catastrophic eruption in June 1997 closed the air and sea ports, causing further economic and social dislocation. Two-thirds of the 12,000 inhabitants fled the island. Some began to return in 1998, but lack of housing limited the number. The agriculture sector continued to be affected by the lack of suitable land for farming and the destruction of crops. Construction was the dominant activity in 1997 and 1998. GDP probably declined again in 1998. Prospects for the economy depend largely on developments in relation to the volcano and on public sector construction activity. The UK has committed about $100 million in 1996-98 to help reconstruct the economy.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$36 million (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -18.5% (1997 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$NA

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 5.4%
    industry: 13.6%
    services: 81% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1997)

    Labor force: 4,521 (1992); note—later substantially lowered by flight of people from volcanic activity

    Labor force—by occupation: community, social, and personal services 40.5%, construction 13.5%, trade, restaurants, and hotels 12.3%, manufacturing 10.5%, agriculture, forestry, and fishing 8.8%, other 14.4% (1983 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 20% (1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $31.4 million
    expenditures: $31.6 million, including capital expenditures of $8.4 million (1997 est.)

    Industries: tourism, rum, textiles, electronic appliances

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 15 million kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 15 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: cabbages, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers; livestock products

    Exports: $8.2 million (1997)

    Exports—commodities: electronic components, plastic bags, apparel, hot peppers, live plants, cattle

    Exports—partners: US, Ireland

    Imports: $26.1 million (1997)

    Imports—commodities: machinery and transportation equipment, foodstuffs, manufactured goods, fuels, lubricants, and related materials

    Imports—partners: NA

    Debt—external: $8.9 million (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $9.8 million (1995); note—about $100 million (1996-98) in reconstruction aid from the UK

    Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1—2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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