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Georgia Economy 1999

    Economy—overview: Georgia's economy has traditionally revolved around Black Sea tourism; cultivation of citrus fruits, tea, and grapes; mining of manganese and copper; and output of a small industrial sector producing wine, metals, machinery, chemicals, and textiles. The country imports the bulk of its energy needs, including natural gas and oil products. Its only sizable internal energy resource is hydropower. Despite the severe damage the economy has suffered due to civil strife, Georgia, with the help of the IMF and World Bank, made substantial economic gains since 1995, increasing GDP growth and slashing inflation. The Georgian economy suffered some setbacks in late 1998, including a large budget deficit due to a failure to collect tax revenue and to the impact of the Russian economic crisis. Georgia also still suffers from energy shortages; it privatized the distribution network in 1998, and deliveries are steadily improving. Georgia is pinning its hopes for long-term recovery on the development of an international transportation corridor through the key Black Sea ports of P'ot'i and Bat'umi. The construction of a Caspian oil pipeline through Georgia—scheduled to open in early 1999—should spur greater Western investment in the economy. The global economic slowdown, a growing trade deficit, continuing problems with corruption, and political uncertainties cloud the short-term economic picture.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$11.2 billion (1998 est.)

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

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 29%
    industry: 16%
    services: 55% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 10.5% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 3.08 million (1997)

    Labor force—by occupation: industry and construction 31%, agriculture and forestry 25%, other 44% (1990)

    Unemployment rate: 16% (1996 est.)

    revenues: $364 million
    expenditures: $568 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998)

    Industries: steel, aircraft, machine tools, foundry equipment, electric locomotives, tower cranes, electric welding equipment, machinery for food preparation and meat packing, electric motors, process control equipment, trucks, tractors, textiles, shoes, chemicals, wood products, wine

    Industrial production growth rate: -0.3% (1998 est.)

    Electricity—production: 6.845 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 29.88%
    hydro: 70.12%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 6.949 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 300 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 404 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: citrus, grapes, tea, vegetables, potatoes; livestock

    Exports: $230 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

    Exports—commodities: citrus fruits, tea, wine, other agricultural products; diverse types of machinery; ferrous and nonferrous metals; textiles; chemicals; fuel reexports

    Exports—partners: Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Armenia, Bulgaria, Turkey, US, UK, Italy, Germany, Romania (1997)

    Imports: $931 million (c.i.f., 1997 est.)

    Imports—commodities: fuel, grain and other foods, machinery and parts, transport equipment

    Imports—partners: Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan (1996); note—EU and US send humanitarian food shipments

    Debt—external: $1.3 billion (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $212.7 million (1995)

    Currency: lari introduced September 1995 replacing the coupon

    Exchange rates: lari per US$1 (end of period)—1.82 (December 1998), 1.32 (December 1997), 1.28 (December 1996), 1.24 (December 1995)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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