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Saint Lucia Economy

    Economy—overview: The economy remains vulnerable due to its heavy dependence on banana production, which is subject to periodic droughts and tropical storms. Increased competition from Latin American bananas will probably further reduce market prices, exacerbating Saint Lucia's need to diversify its economy in coming years, e.g., by further expanding tourism, manufacturing, and construction. In 1997, strong activity in tourism and other service sectors offset the contraction in agriculture, manufacturing, and construction sectors. Improvement in the construction sector and growth of the tourism industry was expected to expand GDP in 1998. The agriculture sector registered its fifth year of decline in 1997 primarily because of a severe decline in banana production.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$625 million (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.2% (1997)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,100 (1997 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 10.7%
    industry: 32.3%
    services: 57% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.9% (1997)

    Labor force: 43,800

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 43.4%, services 38.9%, industry and commerce 17.7% (1983 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 15% (1996 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $141.2 million
    expenditures: $146.7 million, including capital expenditures of $25.1 million (FY97/98 est.)

    Industries: clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism, lime processing, coconut processing

    Industrial production growth rate: -8.9% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 110 million kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 110 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus, root crops, cocoa

    Exports: $70.1 million (1997)

    Exports—commodities: bananas 41%, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil

    Exports—partners: UK 50%, US 24%, Caricom countries 16% (1995)

    Imports: $292.4 million (1997)

    Imports—commodities: food 23%, manufactured goods 21%, machinery and transportation equipment 19%, chemicals, fuels

    Imports—partners: US 36%, Caricom countries 22%, UK 11%, Japan 5%, Canada 4% (1995)

    Debt—external: $159 million (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $51.8 million (1995)

    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)