Economy - overview: Antigua and Barbuda's economy is service-based, with tourism and government services representing the key sources of employment and income. Tourism accounts directly or indirectly for more than half of GDP and is also the principal earner of foreign exchange in Antigua and Barbuda. However, a series of violent hurricanes since 1995 resulted in serious damage to tourist infrastructure and periods of sharp reductions in visitor numbers. In 1999 the budding offshore financial sector was seriously hurt by financial sanctions imposed by the United States and United Kingdom as a result of the loosening of its money-laundering controls. The government has made efforts to comply with international demands in order to get the sanctions lifted. The dual island nation's agricultural production is mainly directed to the domestic market; the sector is constrained by the limited water supply and labor shortages that reflect the pull of higher wages in tourism and construction. Manufacturing comprises enclave-type assembly for export with major products being bedding, handicrafts, and electronic components. Prospects for economic growth in the medium term will continue to depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially in the US, which accounts for about one-third of all tourist arrivals. Estimated overall economic growth for 2000 was 2.5%. Inflation has trended down going from above 2 percent in the 1995-99 period and estimated at 0 percent in 2000.
To lessen its vulnerability to natural disasters, Antigua has been diversifying its economy. Transportation, communications and financial services are becoming important.
Antigua is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). All members of the ECCU, The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency (the East Caribbean Dollar) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.
Antigua and Barbuda is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. Its 1998 exports to the U.S. were valued at aboutUS $3 million and its U.S. imports totaled about US $84 million. It also belongs to the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM).
GDP: purchasing power parity - $524 million (1999 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.8% (1999 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,200 (1999 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
services: 83.5% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.6% (1999 est.)
Labor force: 30,000
Labor force - by occupation: commerce and services 82%, agriculture 11%, industry 7% (1983)
Unemployment rate: 7% (1999 est.)
revenues: $122.6 million
expenditures: $141.2 million, including capital expenditures of $17.3 million (1997 est.)
Industries: tourism, construction, light manufacturing (clothing, alcohol, household appliances)
Industrial production growth rate: 6% (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 90 GWh (1998)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 84 GWh (1998)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)
Agriculture - products: cotton, fruits, vegetables, bananas, coconuts, cucumbers, mangoes, sugarcane; livestock
Exports: $38 million (1998)
Exports - commodities: petroleum products 48%, manufactures 23%, food and live animals 4%, machinery and transport equipment 17%
Exports - partners: OECS 26%, Barbados 15%, Guyana 4%, Trinidad and Tobago 2%, US 0.3%
Imports: $330 million (1998)
Imports - commodities: food and live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, chemicals, oil
Imports - partners: US 27%, UK 16%, Canada 4%, OECS 3%
Debt - external: $357 million (1998)
Economic aid - recipient: $2.3 million (1995)
Currency: 1 East Caribbean dollar (EC$) = 100 cents
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars (EC$) per US$1 - 2.7000 (fixed rate since 1976)
Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March
Much of the material in this article comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website.