Economy in Nicaragua

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Economy—overview: The Nicaraguan economy devastated during the 1980s by economic mismanagement and civil war is beginning to rebound. In 1991 President CHAMORRO launched an ambitious economic stabilization program that reduced inflation and obtained substantial economic aid from abroad. Economic growth rose sharply in 1995-97 due to surges in exports and efforts to enhance trade liberalization. The program however hit some snags and a 1994-97 IMF Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) signed by the CHAMORRO administration with the Fund lapsed in September 1996 due to non-compliance. In 1997 however the IMF resumed negotiations for an ESAF with the ALEMAN administration and agreed to an ESAF in 1998. IMF approval of the ESAF cleared the way for debt relief by the Paris Club later that year and has opened the way for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. Implementation of a 1997 property accord—designed to resolve conflict over properties confiscated by the Sandinistas in the 1980s—should also help inspire international investor confidence. Strong growth is forecast for 1998 with implementation of a 1997 free trade agreement with Mexico expected to boost agricultural exports although the industrial sector may come under pressure from increased Mexican competition.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$9.3 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2 100 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:

agriculture: 34%

industry: 21%

services: 45% (1995)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 11.6% (1996)

Labor force:

total: 1.5 million

by occupation: services 54% agriculture 31% industry 15% (1995 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16%; underemployment 36% (1996 est.)


revenues: $389 million

expenditures: $551 million including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

Industries: food processing chemicals metal products textiles clothing petroleum refining and distribution beverages footwear

Industrial production growth rate: 1.4% (1994 est.)

Electricity—capacity: 457 000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 1.76 billion kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 416 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: coffee bananas sugarcane cotton rice corn cassava (tapioca) citrus beans; beef veal pork poultry dairy products


total value: $635 million (f.o.b. 1996)

commodities: coffee seafood meat sugar gold bananas

partners: US Central America Germany Canada


total value: $1.1 billion (c.i.f. 1996)

commodities: consumer goods machinery and equipment petroleum products

partners: Central America US Venezuela Japan

Debt—external: $6 billion (1996 est.)

Economic aid:

recipient: ODA $NA

Currency: 1 gold cordoba (C$) = 100 centavos

Exchange rates: gold cordobas (C$) per US$1—9.76 (October 1997) 8.44 (1996) 7.55 (1995) 6.72 (1994) 5.62 (1993)

Fiscal year: calendar year

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