Trinidad and Tobago: Economy#

Trinidad and Tobago attracts considerable foreign direct investment from international businesses, particularly in energy, and has one of the highest per capita incomes in Latin America. Economic growth between 2000 and 2007 averaged slightly over 8% per year, significantly above the regional average of about 3.7% for that same period; however, GDP has slowed down since then, contracting during 2009-2012, making small gains in 2013 and contracting again in 2014-2015.

Energy production and downstream industrial use dominate the economy. Trinidad and Tobago produces about nine times more natural gas than crude oil on an energy equivalent basis with gas contributing about two-thirds of energy sector government revenue. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports but less than 5% of employment. In 2013, Trinidad and Tobago was the world’s sixth-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter and is home to one of the largest natural gas liquefaction facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The United States is the country’s largest trading partner, accounting for 33% of its total imports and taking 44% of its exports.

Trinidad and Tobago is buffered by considerable foreign reserves and a sovereign wealth fund that equals about one-and-a-half times the national budget, but the country is in a recession and the government faces the dual challenge of gas shortages and a low price environment. A projected 70% decrease in energy revenue to the government in 2016 will likely force cuts to the government budget, which has increased by 35% over the past six years.

Economic diversification is a longstanding government talking point, and Trinidad and Tobago has much potential due to its stable, democratic government and its educated, English speaking workforce. Although Trinidad and Tobago enjoys cheap electricity from natural gas, the renewable energy sector has recently garnered increased interest. The country is also a regional financial center with a well-regulated and stable financial system. Other sectors the Government of Trinidad and Tobago has targeted for increased investment and projected growth include tourism, agriculture, information and communications technology, and shipping. Unfortunately, a host of other factors, including low labor productivity, inefficient government bureaucracy, and corruption, have hampered economic development.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$43.57 billion (2016 est.)
$44.8 billion (2015 est.)
$45.78 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$22.81 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate-2.8% (2016 est.)
-2.1% (2015 est.)
-1% (2014 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$31,900 (2016 est.)
$33,000 (2015 est.)
$33,900 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars
Gross national saving4.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
8% of GDP (2015 est.)
18.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 59.5%
government consumption: 17.5%
investment in fixed capital: 11.6%
investment in inventories: 0.6%
exports of goods and services: 47.9%
imports of goods and services: -37.1% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 0.5%
industry: 13.9%
services: 85.6% (2016 est.)
Agriculture - productscocoa, dasheen, pumpkin, cassava, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, hot pepper, pommecythere, coconut water, poultry
Industriespetroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles
Industrial production growth rate-5% (2016 est.)
Labor force629,700 (2016 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 3.6%
manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 11.2%
construction and utilities: 85.2%
services: 62.9% (2014 est.)
Unemployment rate4% (2016 est.)
3.5% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line17% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $7.311 billion
expenditures: $9.369 billion (2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues32.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-9% of GDP (2016 est.)
Public debt51.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
49.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
Fiscal year1 October - 30 September
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.7% (2016 est.)
4.7% (2015 est.)
Central bank discount rate6.75% (04 March 2016 est.)
6.75% (31 December 2015 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rate8.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
8.2% (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of narrow money$6.805 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$7.241 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of broad money$16.81 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$16.76 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$8.662 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$9.217 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$177.4 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$171.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$170 million (31 December 2013 est.)
Current account balance-$1.975 billion (2016 est.)
-$1.329 billion (2015 est.)
Exports$7.264 billion (2016 est.)
$8.166 billion (2015 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas, methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, cocoa, fish, preserved fruits, , cosmetics, household cleaners, plastic packaging
Exports - partnersUS 26.3%, Argentina 12%, Brazil 6.6%, Chile 5.3%, Dominican Republic 5.2%, Barbados 5% (2015)
Imports$7.398 billion (2016 est.)
$7.9 billion (2015 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals
Imports - partnersUS 35.6%, China 6.8%, Gabon 6.6% (2015)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$9.394 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$10.38 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Debt - external$7.917 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$6.826 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$382.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$311.7 million (2014 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad$1.266 billion (2014 est.)
Exchange ratesTrinidad and Tobago dollars (TTD) per US dollar -
6.709 (2016 est.)
6.3756 (2015 est.)
6.4041 (2014 est.)
6.4041 (2013 est.)
6.39 (2012 est.)