Curacao: Economy#

Most of Curacao’s GDP results from services. Tourism, petroleum refining and bunkering, offshore finance, and transportation and communications are the mainstays of this small island economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Curacao has limited natural resources, poor soil, and inadequate water supplies, and budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and education systems. Although GDP grew only slightly during the past decade, Curacao enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region.

Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers, and the port of Willemstad hosts a free trade zone and a dry dock. Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA, under a contract in effect until 2019, leases the single refinery on the island from the government, directly employing some 1,000 people; most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela; most of the refined products are exported to the US and Asia. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands and Venezuela being the major suppliers.

The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade and has signed an Association Agreement with the EU to expand business there. In 2013, the government implemented changes to the sales tax and reformed the public pension and health care systems, including increasing the sales tax from 5% to as high as 9% on some products, raising the age for public pension withdrawals to 65, and requiring citizens to pay higher premiums.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$3.128 billion (2012 est.)
$3.02 billion (2011 est.)
$2.96 billion (2010 est.)
note: data are in 2012 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$5.6 billion (2012 est.)
GDP - real growth rate3.6% (2012 est.)
2% (2011 est.)
0.1% (2010 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$15,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 0.7%
industry: 15.5%
services: 83.8% (2012 est.)
Agriculture - productsaloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
Industriestourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Labor force73,010 (2013)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 1.2%
industry: 16.9%
services: 81.8% (2008 est.)
Unemployment rate13% (2013 est.)
9.8% (2011 est.)
Taxes and other revenues16.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-0.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
Public debt33.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
40.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.6% (2013 est.)
2.8% (2012 est.)
Exports$1.607 billion (2011 est.)
$1.44 billion (2010 est.)
Exports - commoditiespetroleum products
Imports$1.285 billion (2011 est.)
$1.275 billion (2010 est.)
Imports - commoditiescrude petroleum, food, manufactures
Exchange ratesNetherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
1.79 (2015 est.)
1.79 (2014 est.)
1.79 (2013)
1.79 (2012 est.)