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Trinidad and Tobago Economy

    Economy—overview: Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses. Successful economic reforms were implemented in 1995, and foreign investment and trade are flourishing. Unemployment—a main cause of the country's socioeconomic problems—is high, but has decreased to its lowest point in six years. An investment boom in the energy sector led to a surge in imports in 1997. The resulting trade deficit is expected to return to a surplus once construction is completed and the plants come on line. The petrochemical sector has spurred growth in other related sectors, reinforcing the government's commitment to economic diversification. Tourism is a major foreign exchange earner, with 260,000 arrivals in 1995, 80% from Europe.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$8.85 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4.3% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$8,000 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 2.2%
    industry: 44%
    services: 53.8% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: 21% (1992 est.)

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.7% (1997)

    Labor force: 541,000 (1997 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: construction and utilities 12.4%, manufacturing, mining, and quarrying 14%, agriculture 9.5%, services 64.1% (1997 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 14% (June 1998)

    Budget:
    revenues: $1.59 billion
    expenditures: $1.54 billion, including capital expenditures of $165.8 million (1997)

    Industries: petroleum, chemicals, tourism, food processing, cement, beverage, cotton textiles

    Industrial production growth rate: 7.5% (1995)

    Electricity—production: 4 billion kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 4 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: cocoa, sugarcane, rice, citrus, coffee, vegetables; poultry

    Exports: $2.4 billion (f.o.b., 1997)

    Exports—commodities: petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, steel products, fertilizer, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus, flowers

    Exports—partners: US 39.7%, Caricom countries 24.5%, Latin America 10.3%, EU 8.2% (1997)

    Imports: $3.3 billion (c.i.f., 1997)

    Imports—commodities: machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, live animals

    Imports—partners: US 52.2%, Latin America 16.5%, EU 13.8%, Japan 3.6% (1997)

    Debt—external: $2.8 billion (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $121.4 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TT$) per US$1—6.2761 (January 1999), 6.2840 (1998), 6.2517 (1997), 6.0051 (1996), 5.9478 (1995), 5.9249 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 October-30 September

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