Flag of El Salvador

El Salvador Economy Profile 2018

Home > Factbook > Countries > El Salvador

Economy - overviewThe smallest country in Central America geographically, El Salvador has the fourth largest economy in the region. With the global recession, real GDP contracted in 2009 and economic growth has since remained low, averaging less than 2% from 2010 to 2014, but recovered somewhat in 2015-17 with an average annual growth rate of 2.4%. Remittances accounted for approximately 17.1% of GDP in 2016 and were received by about a third of all households.

In 2006, El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement, which has bolstered the export of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector amid increased Asian competition. In September 2015, El Salvador kicked off a five-year $277 million second compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation - a US Government agency aimed at stimulating economic growth and reducing poverty - to improve El Salvador's competitiveness and productivity in international markets.

The Salvadoran Government maintained fiscal discipline during post-war reconstruction and rebuilding following earthquakes in 2001 and hurricanes in 1998 and 2005, but El Salvador's public debt, estimated at 68.1% of GDP in 2017, has been growing over the last several years. Total external debt was about 60% of GDP in 2017.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$56.9 billion (2017 est.)
$55.62 billion (2016 est.)
$54.34 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$27.41 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.3% (2017 est.)
2.4% (2016 est.)
2.3% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$8,900 (2017 est.)
$8,800 (2016 est.)
$8,600 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national saving13% of GDP (2017 est.)
11.7% of GDP (2016 est.)
10.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 88.5%
government consumption: 12.1%
investment in fixed capital: 13.7%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 25.1%
imports of goods and services: -39.4% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 10.6%
industry: 24.6%
services: 64.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line34.9% (2015 est.)
Labor force2.774 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 21%
industry: 20%
services: 58% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate7% (2017 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
note: data are official rates; but underemployment is high
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 12.4%
male: 11.8%
female: 13.6% (2013 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 32.3% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index37 (2015 est.)
38 (2014)
Budgetrevenues: $5.756 billion
expenditures: $6.751 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues21% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-3.6% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt68.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
65.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
note: El Salvador's total public debt includes non-financial public sector debt, financial public sector debt, and central bank debt
Inflation rate (consumer prices)0.8% (2017 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate6.6% (31 December 2017 est.)
6.37% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$3.311 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.129 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$12.55 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$11.97 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$15.02 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$13.71 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$4.4 billion (December 2016 est.)
$3.816 billion (December 2015 est.)
$3.535 billion (December 2014 est.)
Agriculture - productscoffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
Industriesfood processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate2% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$266 million (2017 est.)
-$531 million (2016 est.)
Exports$4.25 billion (2017 est.)
$4.186 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesoffshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
Exports - partnersUS 48.3%, Honduras 14.2%, Guatemala 13.5%, Nicaragua 6.5%, Costa Rica 4.7% (2016)
Imports$9.503 billion (2017 est.)
$8.823 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesraw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partnersUS 37.9%, Guatemala 10.2%, China 8.8%, Mexico 7.6%, Honduras 6.3% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$3.067 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.238 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external$16.29 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$15.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$10.78 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.31 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$961.4 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.111 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange ratesnote: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy, 1 (2017 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018

Economy Comparison