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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Economy

    Economy—overview: Agriculture, dominated by banana production, is the most important sector of this lower-middle-income economy. The services sector, based mostly on a growing tourist industry, is also important. The government has been relatively unsuccessful at introducing new industries, and high unemployment rates of 35%-40% continue. The continuing dependence on a single crop represents the biggest obstacle to the islands' development; tropical storms wiped out substantial portions of crops in both 1994 and 1995. The tourism sector has considerable potential for development over the next decade. Recent growth has been stimulated by strong activity in the construction sector and an improvement in tourism.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$289 million (1998 est.)

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

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,400 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 10.6%
    industry: 17.5%
    services: 71.9% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.6% (1996)

    Labor force: 67,000 (1984 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 26%, industry 17%, services 57% (1980 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 35%-40% (1994 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $85.7 million
    expenditures: $98.6 million, including capital expenditures of $25.7 million (1997 est.)

    Industries: food processing, cement, furniture, clothing, starch

    Industrial production growth rate: -0.9% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 62 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 67.74%
    hydro: 32.26%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 62 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: bananas, coconuts, sweet potatoes, spices; small numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats; fish

    Exports: $47.3 million (1997)

    Exports—commodities: bananas 39%, eddoes and dasheen (taro), arrowroot starch, tennis racquets

    Exports—partners: Caricom countries 49%, UK 16%, US 10% (1995)

    Imports: $158.8 million (1997)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, chemicals and fertilizers, minerals and fuels

    Imports—partners: US 36%, Caricom countries 28%, UK 13% (1995)

    Debt—external: $83.6 million (1997)

    Economic aid—recipient: $47.5 million (1995); note—Stabex (EU), $34.5 million (1998)

    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: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
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