Ecuador has substantial petroleum
resources, which have accounted for 40% of the country's export earnings
and one-fourth of public sector revenues in recent years. Consequently,
fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic
impact. In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered its worst economic crisis,
with natural disasters and sharp declines in world petroleum prices
driving Ecuador's economy into free fall in 1999. Real GDP contracted by
more than 6%, with poverty worsening significantly. The banking system
also collapsed, and Ecuador defaulted on its external debt later that
year. The currency depreciated by some 70% in 1999, and, on the brink of
hyperinflation, the Mahaud government announced it would dollarize the
economy. A coup, however, ousted Mahaud from office in January 2000, and
after a short-lived junta failed to garner military support, Vice
President Gustavo Noboa took over the presidency. In March 2000,
Congress approved a series of structural reforms that also provided the
framework for the adoption of the US dollar as legal tender.
Dollarization stabilized the economy, and growth returned to its
pre-crisis levels in the years that followed. Under the administration
of Lucio Gutierrez, who took office in January 2003, Ecuador benefited
from higher world petroleum prices, but the government has made little
progress on fiscal reforms and reforms of state-owned enterprises
necessary to reduce Ecuador's vulnerability to petroleum price swings
and financial crises.
Ecuador has substantial oil
resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports
primarily oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices
can have a substantial domestic impact. The aftermath of El Nino and the
recent depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy downward.
The banking sector collapsed during the late 1990's. Initial effects
were bankrupt banks, increasing unemployment and concerns via its Brady
Bonds with the United States. The Ecuadorian economy has yet to recover
from its recent roller coaster ride. In fact, in 2000 their currency
experienced a dollarization from their "Sucre" currency. The move has
stabilized the currency, but is expected to trickle its benefit across
industries and their exporting agreements. Today's government continues
to prioritize their fiscal objectives as they manage foreign debt.
Tourism has risen in their recent priority list.
has played a
dominant role in the country's economy since the early 1970s. The oil is
carried through a pipeline that crosses the Andes to the Pacific port of Esmeraldas, where a refinery operates. Over the last century, economic
development depended on the exports of first cocoa and the bananas, of
which Ecuador was the world's largest exporter for several decades. Now
most recently, Ecuador has gained worldwide distribution of its flowers.
Their strength comes from their roses which are grown mainly in the
In the highlands subsistence
agriculture and the production of staples for the urban areas are
predominant (corn, wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, and various
vegetables). In the coastal lowlands tropical crops are grown to export.
Since the late 1940s, bananas have been the main commercial crop of this
Small quantities of gold, silver, copper
and zinc are produced. The country is known to have deposits of uranium,
iron ore, lead, and coal. The manufacture of straw hat was the main
Ecuador’s strategic location has
brought many twenty-first century investors and businessmen to the
country. Located in the middle of the world, it opens its doors to
commercial and cultural exchanges, alike. Ecuador is the world’s largest
banana producer and one of its main flower exporters. Tourism is the
country’s fourth largest income-earner, with oil being its number one
revenue generating industry. Shrimp and cocoa are also of great
importance to the nation’s economy, which now has the U.S. dollar as its
official currency. With well-developed tourist infrastructures,
Ecuador’s major cities offer all types of services from fine dining to
lodging in the world’s most luxurious hotel chains.
Quito is the political heart of the
is the country’s economic pulse, Manta is an important port and tourist
destination, and Cuenca
is the cultural center of Ecuador.
El 40% de la población
activa trabaja en la agricultura, el 20% en la industria y el 40% en el sector
de servicios. En 1965 se dio una ley para la modernización de la economía, hasta
ese entonces de carácter predominantemente agraria, en la que se fomentaban las
empresas industriales. En los años setenta, después de concluir la construcción
del oleoducto trasandino que comunica los campos petroleros en la región del
oriente con el puerto de Esmeraldas, se inició la explotación del petróleo.
Entre los productos de exportación más importantes se cuenta también con
plátanos, café, cacao, arroz, caña de azúcar, pescado y langostinos. La tasa de
inflación alcanzó en 2002 el 12%, mientras que la de desempleo fue de 7,7%.