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Nicaragua: Economy#

Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports.

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many Nicaraguan agricultural and manufactured goods.

In 2013, the government granted a 50-year concession to a newly formed Chinese-run company to finance and build an inter-oceanic canal and related projects, at an estimated cost of $50 billion. The canal construction has not started.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$33.49 billion (2016 est.)
$32.04 billion (2015 est.)
$30.54 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$13.41 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.5% (2016 est.)
4.9% (2015 est.)
4.6% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$5,300 (2016 est.)
$5,100 (2015 est.)
$4,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving22.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
19.7% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 79.4%
government consumption: 7.2%
investment in fixed capital: 32.1%
investment in inventories: 1.6%
exports of goods and services: 36.2%
imports of goods and services: -54.9% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 16.9%
industry: 24.3%
services: 58.8% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans; beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products; shrimp, lobsters
Industriesfood processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining
Industrial production growth rate5% (2016 est.)
Labor force3.013 million (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 31%
industry: 18%
services: 50% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate6% (2016 est.)
6.1% (2015 est.)
note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008
Population below poverty line29.6% (2015 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 1.4%
highest 10%: 41.8% (2005)
Distribution of family income - Gini index40.5 (2010)
60.3 (1998)
Budgetrevenues: $3.454 billion
expenditures: $3.738 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues25.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-2.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt46.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
45.7% of GDP (2015 est.)
note: official data; data cover general Government Debt, and includes debt instruments issued (or owned) by Government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, as well as intra-governmental debt; intra-governmen
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Inflation rate (consumer prices)4.1% (2016 est.)
4% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate3% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15% (31 December 2016 est.)
12.05% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$1.228 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$1.093 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$4.453 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
$4.136 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$5.732 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$5.677 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Current account balance-$1.077 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.045 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$3.108 billion (2016 est.)
$3.341 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiescoffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel, cotton
Exports - partnersUS 56.5%, Mexico 10.7%, Venezuela 5.4%, El Salvador 4.3% (2015)
Imports$6.039 billion (2016 est.)
$6.083 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesconsumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
Imports - partnersUS 19.9%, Mexico 14.9%, China 10.6%, Venezuela 7%, Costa Rica 7%, El Salvador 5.7%, Guatemala 5.6%, Netherlands Antilles 5.5% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$2.442 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.492 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$11.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.64 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Exchange ratescordobas (NIO) per US dollar -
28.68 (2016 est.)
27.257 (2015 est.)
27.257 (2014 est.)
26.01 (2013 est.)
23.55 (2012 est.)