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Liberia Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewLiberia is a low-income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance and remittances from the diaspora. It is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture. Its principal exports are iron ore, rubber, diamonds, and gold. Palm oil and cocoa are emerging as new export products. The government has attempted to revive raw timber extraction and is encouraging oil exploration.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially infrastructure in and around the capital. Much of the conflict was fueled by control over Liberia’s natural resources. With the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, businesses that had fled the country began to return. The country achieved high growth during the period 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. However, during the 2014-2015 Ebola crisis, the economy declined and many foreign-owned businesses departed with their capital and expertise. The epidemic forced the government to divert scarce resources to combat the spread of the virus, reducing funds available for needed public investment. The cost of addressing the Ebola epidemic coincided with decreased economic activity reducing government revenue, although higher donor support significantly offset this loss. During the same period, global commodities prices for key exports fell and have yet to recover to pre-Ebola levels.

In 2017, gold was a key driver of growth, as a new mining project began its first full year of production; iron ore exports are also increased as Arcelor Mittal opened new mines at Mount Gangra. The completion of the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Dam increased electricity production to support ongoing and future economic activity, although electricity tariffs remain high relative to other countries in the region and transmission infrastructure is limited. Presidential and legislative elections in October 2017 generated election-related spending pressures.

Revitalizing the economy in the future will depend on economic diversification, increasing investment and trade, higher global commodity prices, sustained foreign aid and remittances, development of infrastructure and institutions, combating corruption, and maintaining political stability and security.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.906 billion (2017 est.)
$3.808 billion (2016 est.)
$3.871 billion (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.14 billion (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.6% (2017 est.)
-1.6% (2016 est.)
0% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$900 (2017 est.)
$900 (2016 est.)
$900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
Gross national savingNA% (2017 est.)
-21.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
-2.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 128.8%
government consumption: 16.7%
investment in fixed capital: 19.5%
investment in inventories: 6.7%
exports of goods and services: 17.5%
imports of goods and services: -89.2% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 36.1%
industry: 10.5%
services: 53.4% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line54.1% (2014 est.)
Labor force1.677 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 70%
industry: 8%
services: 22% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate2.8% (2014 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 6%
male: 4.3%
female: 7.6% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: 2.4%
highest 10%: 30.1% (2007)
Distribution of family income - Gini index32 (2014)
38.2 (2007)
Budgetrevenues: $626.1 million
expenditures: $727.6 million (2017 est.)
Taxes and other revenues29.3% of GDP (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
Public debt46.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
42.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)12.8% (2017 est.)
8.8% (2016 est.)
Central bank discount rate3.2% (2016)
Commercial bank prime lending rate15.2% (31 December 2017 est.)
13.59% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money$425.9 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$436.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money$557 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$639 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$706.1 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$789.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productsrubber, coffee, cocoa, rice, cassava (manioc, tapioca), palm oil, sugarcane, bananas; sheep, goats; timber
Industriesmining (iron ore and gold), rubber processing, palm oil processing, diamonds
Industrial production growth rate3.2% (2017 est.)
Current Account Balance-$571 million (2017 est.)
-$520 million (2016 est.)
Exports$202.1 million (2017 est.)
$169.8 million (2016 est.)
Exports - commoditiesrubber, timber, iron, diamonds, cocoa, coffee
Exports - partnersPoland 18.5%, Switzerland 9.7%, UAE 9.4%, Netherlands 8.9%, Germany 6.1%, US 5.9%, South Africa 5%, China 4.4%, Ghana 4.2% (2016)
Imports$1.247 billion (2017 est.)
$1.21 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfuels, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods; foodstuffs
Imports - partnersSouth Korea 38.3%, Singapore 18%, China 15.9%, Japan 10.9% (2016)
Debt - external$1.049 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$938.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$17.01 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$16.56 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$201 million (31 December 2013 est.)
$201 million (31 December 2012 est.)
Exchange ratesLiberian dollars (LRD) per US dollar -
109.4 (2017 est.)
93.4 (2016 est.)
93.4 (31 December 2015 est.)
85.3 (2014 est.)
83.893 (2013 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

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

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