Salient Features: Formerly mixed economy
extensive market-oriented structural adjustment, mainly by
of privatization of state enterprises and downsizing of
sector. Restoration of economic stability and
after eight years of civil war major concerns. Production
dominated by primary commodities, mainly agricultural, for
and domestic consumption. Small manufacturing sector
mainly for domestic and regional markets. Debt and
instability hampering growth and preventing return of
capital in early 1990s, despite dramatic progress in
inflation since 1990. Economy heavily dependent on foreign
Gross Domestic Product (GDP): US$1.6 billion in
(US$425 per capita), one of lowest per capita figures in
Hemisphere. Economy contracted sharply during late 1980s
stagnant since 1990, with real GDP growth at minus 0.5
1992. Slow recovery expected by mid-1990s.
Agriculture: Mainstay of economy, accounted for
approximately 29 percent of GDP in 1989 and an estimated
percent in 1991; employs about 45 percent of work force.
Production heavily oriented toward export of coffee and
which generate about half of total export revenues;
sugar, tobacco, sesame, rice, and beef also important
commodities. Domestic-use agriculture robust, but
supplemented by food and basic grains imports.
percent of agricultural production controlled by private
following expropriation and redistribution of large
Industry: Small industrial sector producing for
domestic and regional markets; experienced substantial
during 1960s in response to tariff protection and
trade expansion under Central American Common Market
declined precipitously thereafter. Industrial production
of GDP peaked at 23 percent in 1978, dropping to 19
1989. Agro-industries dominate, accounting for 75 percent
total industrial output; other domestic use industries
cement production, chemicals processing, metals
petroleum refining. Industrial recovery impeded during
1990s by outdated and inefficient equipment and production
methods, fuel shortages, lack of spare parts, labor
lack of supporting infrastructure.
Minerals: Mining not significant economic
accounted for 0.6 percent of GDP in 1990. Gold, silver,
mining main sources of mineral income; known deposits of
lead, iron, antimony, tungsten, molybdenum, and phosphate
unexploited. Mining sector, nationalized in 1979, remained
state control in 1993. Offshore oil and natural gas
being undertaken off Pacific and Caribbean coastlines.
Energy: Domestic energy needs met by petroleum
as well as by hydroelectric and geothermal electricity
generation. Imported oil, mainly from Mexico and
satisfies approximately half of domestic demand. One
and one hydroelectric plant in operation; a second,
hydroelectric plant under construction. Electrification
heavily concentrated in urban areas. National power grid
by civil war.
Foreign Trade: Exports valued at US$343 million
1991, dominated by coffee, cotton, bananas, sugar, and
Imports valued at US$650 million in 1991, mainly petroleum
its byproducts, other raw materials, nondurable consumer
and machinery. Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba, the
Community (EC), and Latin America major trading partners
1980s. Trade conducted mainly with EC, United States,
America, and Japan since 1990. Balance of trade
sizable deficits since 1980.
Balance of Payments: Total debt estimated at
billion in 1990. Experienced highest per capita debt in
America because of chronic fiscal and current account
during 1980s, resulting in approximately US$4 billion owed
former Soviet Union and approximately US$6 billion owed to
Western nations and multilateral lending institutions.
substantial debt relief beginning in 1990.
Foreign Aid: Most economic assistance provided
United States, EC, and multilateral agencies since 1990.
recipient of aid from socialist countries during 1980s.
Currency and Exchange Rate: Gold córdoba
US$1 = 6.55 gold córdobas in April 1994.
Fiscal Year: Calendar year.
Data as of December 1993