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Bahamas, The Economy

    Economy—overview: The Bahamas is a stable, developing nation with an economy heavily dependent on tourism and offshore banking. Tourism alone accounts for more than 60% of GDP and directly or indirectly employs 40% of the archipelago's labor force. Moderate growth in tourism receipts and a boom in construction of new hotels, resorts, and residences led to an increase of the country's GDP by an estimated 4% in 1998. Manufacturing and agriculture together contribute less than 10% of GDP and show little growth, despite government incentives aimed at those sectors. Overall growth prospects in the short run will depend heavily on the fortunes of the tourism sector and continued income growth in the US, which accounts for the majority of tourist visitors.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$5.63 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$20,100 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 5%
    services: 92% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.4% (1997)

    Labor force: 148,000 (1996)

    Labor force—by occupation: government 30%, tourism 40%, business services 10%, agriculture 5% (1995 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 9% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $766 million
    expenditures: $845 million, including capital expenditures of $97 million (FY97/98)

    Industries: tourism, banking, cement, oil refining and transshipment, salt production, rum, aragonite, pharmaceuticals, spiral-welded steel pipe

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 1 billion kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 1 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: citrus, vegetables; poultry

    Exports: $300 million (1998)

    Exports—commodities: pharmaceuticals, cement, rum, crawfish, refined petroleum products

    Exports—partners: US 24.5%, EU (excluding UK) 23.9%, UK 12.6%, Singapore 5.6% (1997)

    Imports: $1.37 billion (1998)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, manufactured goods, crude oil, vehicles, electronics

    Imports—partners: US 34.9%, EU 24.3%, Japan 15.5%, Russia 6.3% (1997)

    Debt—external: $381.7 million (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $9.8 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Bahamian dollar (B$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Bahamian dollar (B$) per US$1—1.000 (fixed rate pegged to the dollar)

    Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June

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