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Economy of St Lucia


St Lucia's economy depends primarily on tourism, banana production and light manufacturing. An educated workforce and improvements in roads, communications, water supply, sewerage, and port facilities have attracted foreign investment in tourism and in petroleum storage and transshipment. However, with the United States, Canada and Europe in recession, tourism declined by double digits in early 2009. Because of fluctuations in banana prices and possible World Trade Organization-imposed reductions in European Union trade preferences, the government is encouraging farmers to diversify into such crops as cocoa, mango and avocados. The recent change in the European Union import preference regime and the increased competition from Latin American bananas have made economic diversification increasingly important in St Lucia. The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, which is the island's main source of revenue. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry. Despite negative growth in 2001, economic fundamentals remain solid, and GDP growth should recover in the future.

Inflation has been relatively low, averaging 5.5% between 2006 and 2008. St Lucia’s currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), a regional currency shared among members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCL) issues the EC$, manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in member countries. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive restructuring of the economy, including elimination of price controls and privatisation of the state banana company. Five points were deducted from St Lucia’s monetary freedom score to adjust for measures that distort domestic prices.

St Lucia is a beneficiary of the US Caribbean Basin Initiative and is a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). St Lucia is also the headquarters of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications (ECTEL) authority, which is developing the regulations to liberalise the telecommunications sector in the region by 2004.


Economy - overview : The island nation has been able to attract foreign business and investment, especially in its offshore banking and tourism industries, with a surge in foreign direct investment in 2006, attributed to the construction of several tourism projects. Although crops such as bananas, mangos, and avocados continue to be grown for export, tourism provides St Lucia's main source of income and the industry is the island's biggest employer. Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange, although tourism sector revenues declined with the global economic downturn as US and European travel dropped in 2009. The manufacturing sector is the most diverse in the Eastern Caribbean area, and the government is trying to revitalise the banana industry, although recent hurricanes have caused exports to contract. St Lucia is vulnerable to a variety of external shocks including volatile tourism receipts, natural disasters, and dependence on foreign oil. The public debt-to-GDP ratio is about 70% and high debt servicing obligations constrain the KING administration's ability to respond to adverse external shocks. Economic fundamentals remain solid, even though unemployment needs to be reduced.
GDP (purchasing power parity) : $1.745 billion (2009 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate) : $973 million (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate : -5.2% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP) : $10,900 (2009 est.)
GDP - composition by sector : agriculture: 5%
industry: 15%
services: 80% (2005 est.)
Labour force : 79,700 (2007)
Labour force - by occupation : agriculture: 21.7%
industry: 24.7%
services: 53.6% (2002 est.)
Unemployment rate : 20% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line : NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget : revenues: $141.2 million
expenditures: $146.7 million (2000 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
: 1.9% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate
: 6.5% (31 December 2009)
Commercial bank prime lending rate : 10.58% (31 December 2009 )
Stock of money : $261.3 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of quasi money : $800.1 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of domestic credit : $1.378 billion (31 December 2008)
Agriculture - products : bananas, coconuts, vegetables, citrus, root crops, cocoa
Industries : clothing, assembly of electronic components, beverages, corrugated cardboard boxes, tourism; lime processing, coconut processing
Industrial production growth rate : NA%
Electricity - production : 325 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption : 302.2 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports : 0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports : 0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production : 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption : 3,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - exports : 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports : 2,747 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves : 0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves : 0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance : -$199 million (2007 est.)
Exports : $288 million (2006)
Exports - commodities : bananas 41%, clothing, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, coconut oil
Exports - partners : Spain 29.41%, UK 15.28%, South Korea 10.54%, US 9.75%, India 9.52% (2009)
Imports : $791 million (2006)
Imports - commodities : food 23%, manufactured goods 21%, machinery and transportation equipment 19%, chemicals, fuels
Imports - partners : Brazil 83.44%, US 4.67%, Trinidad and Tobago 4.56% (2009)
Debt - external : $257 million (2004)
Exchange rates : East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)




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