Economy of the Dominican Republic

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The Dominican Republic is a middle-income developing country primarily dependent on agriculture, trade, and services, especially tourism. Although the service sector has recently overtaken agriculture as the leading employer of Dominicans (due principally to growth in tourism, energy, telecommunications, and Free Trade Zones), agriculture remains the most important sector in terms of domestic consumption. Tourism accounts for nearly $1.5 billion in annual earnings. Free Trade Zone earnings and tourism are the fastest-growing export sectors. Remittances from Dominicans living in the United States are estimated to total more than $1.5 billion per year.

Following economic turmoil in the late 1980s and 1990, during which the GDP fell by up to 5% and consumer price inflation reached an unprecedented 100%, the Dominican Republic entered a period of high growth and moderate inflation. GDP in 2001 grew by only 3.0% following 5 straight years of growth above 7.0%. The inflation rate in 2001 was about 5%.

Despite a widening merchandise trade deficit, tourism earnings and remittances have helped build foreign exchange reserves. The Dominican Republic is current on foreign private debt and has agreed to pay arrears of about $130 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Credit Corporation. The government faces several economic policy challenges--high real interest rates, poor tax-collection rates, and reduced demand for Dominican exports due to the slowdown in the world economy. Years of tariff protection for domestic production have left the economy vulnerable in a rapidly integrating global economy.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $48.3 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 8.3% (1999 est.), 8% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $5,700 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture:  11.3%
industry:  32.2%
services:  56.5% (1999 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.6%
highest 10%: 39.6% (1989)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.1% (1999), 7.9% (2000 est.)
Labor force: 2.3 million to 2.6 million
Labor force - by occupation: services and government 58.7%, industry 24.3%, agriculture 17% (1998 est.)
Unemployment rate: 13.8% (1999 est.)
revenues: $2.3 billion
expenditures: $2.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $867 million (1999 est.)
Industries: tourism, sugar processing, ferronickel and gold mining, textiles, cement, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate: 8% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production: 7.29 billion kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel:  87.19%
hydro:  12.4%
nuclear:  0%
other:  0.41% (1999)
Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn, bananas; cattle, pigs, dairy products, beef, eggs
Exports: $5.1 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $5.8 billion (f.o.b., 2000)
Exports - commodities: ferronickel, sugar, gold, silver, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, meats
Exports - partners: US 66.1%, Netherlands 7.8%, Canada 7.6%, Russia 7.4%, UK 4.5% (1999 est.)
Imports: $8.2 billion (f.o.b., 1999), $9.6 billion (f.o.b., 2000 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, petroleum, cotton and fabrics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals
Imports - partners: US 25.7%, Venezuela 9.2%, Mexico 4%, Japan 3%, Panama 2.6% (1999 est.)
Debt - external: $4.7 billion (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: $239.6 million (1995)
Currency: Dominican peso (DOP)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Dominican Republic > Map Economy History