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El Salvador Economy Profile 2019

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Economy - overview

The 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 18% of GDP in 2017 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 reconstruction and rebuilding following earthquakes in 2001 and hurricanes in 1998 and 2005, but El Salvador's public debt, estimated at 59.3% of GDP in 2017, has been growing over the last several years.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$51.17 billion (2017 est.)
$50.01 billion (2016 est.)
$48.75 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)
$24.81 billion (2017 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
2.3% (2017 est.)
2.6% (2016 est.)
2.4% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$8,000 (2017 est.)
$7,900 (2016 est.)
$7,700 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving
14.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
13% of GDP (2016 est.)
12.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 84.5% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 16.9% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 27.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -44.9% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 12% (2017 est.)
industry: 27.7% (2017 est.)
services: 60.3% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
32.7% (2016 est.)
Labor force
2.774 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 21%
industry: 20%
services: 58% (2011 est.)
Unemployment rate
7% (2017 est.)
6.9% (2016 est.)

note: data are official rates; but underemployment is high

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 10.1%
male: 8.8%
female: 12.2% (2017)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.2%
highest 10%: 32.3% (2014 est.)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
36 (2016 est.)
38 (2014)
Budget
revenues: 5.886 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 6.517 billion (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
23.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-2.5% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Public debt
67.9% of GDP (2017 est.)
66.4% 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)
1% (2017 est.)
0.6% (2016 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
6.47% (31 December 2017 est.)
6.37% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$3.653 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.129 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$3.653 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.129 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$14.22 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$13.71 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$2.64 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$4.4 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.816 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; beef, dairy products
Industries
food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals
Industrial production growth rate
3.6% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$501 million (2017 est.)
-$500 million (2016 est.)
Exports
$4.662 billion (2017 est.)
$5.42 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, textiles and apparel, ethanol, chemicals, electricity, iron and steel manufactures
Exports - partners
US 45.7%, Honduras 13.9%, Guatemala 13.5%, Nicaragua 6.7%, Costa Rica 4.6% (2017)
Imports
$9.499 billion (2017 est.)
$8.954 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
raw materials, consumer goods, capital goods, fuels, foodstuffs, petroleum, electricity
Imports - partners
US 36.7%, Guatemala 10.5%, China 8.7%, Mexico 7.4%, Honduras 6.7% (2017)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$3.567 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.238 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Debt - external
$15.51 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$16.32 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$10.28 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$9.197 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad
$678.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$976.3 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
note: the US dollar is used as a medium of exchange and circulates freely in the economy
1 (2017 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on December 7, 2019

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