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Nicaragua vs. Honduras

Economy

NicaraguaHonduras
Economy - overview

Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest in the Western Hemisphere, has widespread underemployment and poverty. GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017 was insufficient to make a significant difference. Textiles and agriculture combined account for nearly 50% of Nicaragua's exports. Beef, coffee, and gold are Nicaragua’s top three export commodities.

The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement 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 with the option for an additional 50 years 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.

Honduras, the second poorest country in Central America, suffers from extraordinarily unequal distribution of income, as well as high underemployment. While historically dependent on the export of bananas and coffee, Honduras has diversified its export base to include apparel and automobile wire harnessing.

Honduras’s economy depends heavily on US trade and remittances. The US-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement came into force in 2006 and has helped foster foreign direct investment, but physical and political insecurity, as well as crime and perceptions of corruption, may deter potential investors; about 15% of foreign direct investment is from US firms.

The economy registered modest economic growth of 3.1%-4.0% from 2010 to 2017, insufficient to improve living standards for the nearly 65% of the population in poverty. In 2017, Honduras faced rising public debt, but its economy has performed better than expected due to low oil prices and improved investor confidence. Honduras signed a three-year standby arrangement with the IMF in December 2014, aimed at easing Honduras’s poor fiscal position.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$36.4 billion (2017 est.)
$34.71 billion (2016 est.)
$33.17 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$46.3 billion (2017 est.)
$44.18 billion (2016 est.)
$42.58 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
4.9% (2017 est.)
4.7% (2016 est.)
4.8% (2015 est.)
4.8% (2017 est.)
3.8% (2016 est.)
3.8% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$5,900 (2017 est.)
$5,600 (2016 est.)
$5,500 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$5,600 (2017 est.)
$5,400 (2016 est.)
$5,300 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 15.5% (2017 est.)
industry: 24.4% (2017 est.)
services: 60% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 14.2% (2017 est.)
industry: 28.8% (2017 est.)
services: 57% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
29.6% (2015 est.)
29.6% (2014)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 1.8%
highest 10%: 47.1% (2014)
lowest 10%: 1.2%
highest 10%: 38.4% (2014)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
3.9% (2017 est.)
3.5% (2016 est.)
3.9% (2017 est.)
2.7% (2016 est.)
Labor force
3.046 million (2017 est.)
3.735 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 31%
industry: 18%
services: 50% (2011 est.)
agriculture: 39.2%
industry: 20.9%
services: 39.8% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate
6.4% (2017 est.)
6.2% (2016 est.)

note: underemployment was 46.5% in 2008

5.6% (2017 est.)
6.3% (2016 est.)

note: about one-third of the people are underemployed

Distribution of family income - Gini index
47.1 (2014)
45.8 (2009)
47.1 (2014)
45.7 (2009)
Budget
revenues: 3.871 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.15 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 4.658 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 5.283 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
food processing, chemicals, machinery and metal products, knit and woven apparel, petroleum refining and distribution, beverages, footwear, wood, electric wire harness manufacturing, mining
sugar processing, coffee, woven and knit apparel, wood products, cigars
Industrial production growth rate
3.5% (2017 est.)
4.5% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
coffee, bananas, sugarcane, rice, corn, tobacco, cotton, sesame, soya, beans, beef, veal, pork, poultry, dairy products, shrimp, lobsters, peanuts
bananas, coffee, citrus, corn, African palm; beef; timber; shrimp, tilapia, lobster, sugar, oriental vegetables
Exports
$3.819 billion (2017 est.)
$3.772 billion (2016 est.)
$8.675 billion (2017 est.)
$7.841 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
coffee, beef, gold, sugar, peanuts, shrimp and lobster, tobacco, cigars, automobile wiring harnesses, textiles, apparel
coffee, apparel, coffee, shrimp, automobile wire harnesses, cigars, bananas, gold, palm oil, fruit, lobster, lumber
Exports - partners
US 44.2%, El Salvador 6.4%, Venezuela 5.5%, Costa Rica 5.5% (2017)
US 34.5%, Germany 8.9%, Belgium 7.7%, El Salvador 7.3%, Netherlands 7.2%, Guatemala 5.2%, Nicaragua 4.8% (2017)
Imports
$6.613 billion (2017 est.)
$6.384 billion (2016 est.)
$11.32 billion (2017 est.)
$10.56 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
consumer goods, machinery and equipment, raw materials, petroleum products
communications equipment, machinery and transport, industrial raw materials, chemical products, fuels, foodstuffs
Imports - partners
US 20.8%, China 14.3%, Mexico 11.1%, Costa Rica 7.9%, Guatemala 7%, El Salvador 5.6% (2017)
US 40.3%, Guatemala 10.5%, China 8.5%, Mexico 6.2%, El Salvador 5.7%, Panama 4.4%, Costa Rica 4.2% (2017)
Debt - external
$11.31 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.87 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$8.625 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$7.852 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
cordobas (NIO) per US dollar -
30.11 (2017 est.)
28.678 (2016 est.)
28.678 (2015 est.)
27.257 (2014 est.)
26.01 (2013 est.)
lempiras (HNL) per US dollar -
23.74 (2017 est.)
22.995 (2016 est.)
22.995 (2015 est.)
22.098 (2014 est.)
21.137 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
33.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
31.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by Government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as retirement, medical care, and unemployment, debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions; Nicaragua rebased its GDP figures in 2012, which reduced the figures for debt as a percentage of GDP

39.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
38.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$2.758 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.448 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$4.708 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$3.814 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
-$694 million (2017 est.)
-$989 million (2016 est.)
-$380 million (2017 est.)
-$587 million (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$13.81 billion (2017 est.)
$22.98 billion (2017 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$1.568 billion (31 December 2016)
$1.209 billion (31 December 2015)
$995 million (31 December 2014)

NA

Central bank discount rate
3% (31 December 2010)
6.25% (31 December 2010)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
10.8% (31 December 2017 est.)
11.44% (31 December 2016 est.)
19.26% (31 December 2017 est.)
19.33% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$6.461 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$6.159 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$13.3 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$12.67 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$1.162 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.043 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.827 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.455 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$1.162 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.043 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.827 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$2.455 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
28% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
20.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-2.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 8.5%
male: 6.4%
female: 12.9% (2014 est.)
total: 7.9%
male: 5.6%
female: 12.1% (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 69.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 15.3% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 28.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 41.2% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -55.4% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 77.7% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 13.8% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 23.1% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 0.7% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 43.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -58.9% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
24% of GDP (2017 est.)
23.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
22.1% of GDP (2017 est.)
20.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
20.5% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook