Country Listing

Dominican Republic Table of Contents

Dominican Republic


Gross Domestic Product (GDP): Approximately US$5.6 billion in 1987, roughly US$800 per capita.

Agriculture: Accounted for about 15 percent of GDP, employed some 35 percent of labor force, and generated approximately half of all exports in 1988. Sugar traditionally the major crop, although its importance declined steadily during 1970s and 1980s. Coffee, cacao, and tobacco also produced for export. Exports of nontraditional agricultural products, particularly pineapple and citrus fruit, expanded in 1980s.

Industry: Manufacturing, mining, and construction combined to contribute over 31 percent of GDP in 1988. These industries also employed almost 10 percent of labor force and accounted for two-thirds of country's exports. Assembly manufacturing subsector achieved fastest growth in 1980s as a result of government expansion of Industrial Free Zones throughout country. Major mineral exports gold, silver, bauxite, and nickel, all of which had low prices on world markets during 1980s. Construction benefited greatly from government public works projects and expansion of tourist industry.

Services: Tourism leading service industry; replaced sugar as country's leading foreign-exchange earner in 1984. Government supported development of tourist industry, but economic shortcomings such as inadequate water and energy supply and shortages of construction materials slowed expansion of facilities and adversely affected service to visitors. Financial services contributed 7 percent to GDP in 1988; transportation and communications accounted for additional 6 percent.

Currency: Dominican Republic peso (RD$), consisting of 100 centavos. Peso maintained on a par with United States dollar until 1985, when it was allowed to float against dollar. Value of peso plunged, reaching a low of US$1=RD$8 in mid-1988, but had rebounded slightly to US$1=RD$6.35 by 1989.

Imports: Approximately US$1.5 million in 1987, highest level ever recorded. Oil imports declined on a percentage basis from 1980 to 1987, but imports of intermediate goods, consumer goods, and capital goods increased over same period, contributing to negative trade balance.

Exports: Approximately US$718 million in 1987, a tenyear low. Decline in export value mainly attributable to low sugar prices on world market from 1984-87.

Balance of Payments: Overall deficit reached US$593 million in 1987, roughly 11 percent of GDP. Effect of deficit cushioned somewhat by cash remittances from Dominicans living abroad, tourism, a draw down of reserves, and rescheduling of country's foreign debt.

Fiscal year (FY--see Glossary): Calendar year, except in case of State Sugar Council (Consejo Estatal de Azúcar--CEA), which runs on cycle October 1 to September 30.

Fiscal Policy: Fiscal deficits mounted in 1980s, mainly as result of dwindling revenues. Revenues fell from 16 percent of GDP in 1970 to 10 percent in 1982, as Dominican governments provided tax incentives to business without securing sufficient alternate sources of revenue. Although not exorbitant relative to GDP, expenditures continued to rise throughout 1980s as government maintained subsidies on imported foodstuffs, gasoline, public utilities, and transportation in order to keep prices artificially low for low-income consumers. Debt service accounted for 22 percent of total expenditures in 1988 budget. Under President Joaquín Balaguer Ricardo, expanded public works programs boosted capital expenditures from 30 percent to over 40 percent of budget.

Data as of December 1989