Warning sign in an oil production area in Ecuador

Economic situation High dependency on oil

The Ecuadorian economy is highly dependent on commodities and exports. Apart from agricultural products, it is especially oil that continues to play an important role. This means that world market prices have a direct impact on the country's economic performance. 

The guiding vision for the Ecuadorian government is a solidarity-based economy that serves all of society. Another goal is environmentally sustainable economic development. The Ecuadorian economy is highly dependent on exports. By far the most important export commodities are agricultural products (accounting for about 47 per cent of total exports in 2019, mainly bananas, cocoa, coffee, fish and shrimp) and oil (about 36 per cent of total exports). Alongside these industries, the industrial sector and mining also play an important role in the country's economy.

Oil prices have an impact on the economy

Due to the country's dependence on oil, government revenues are directly influenced by world market prices. For a number of years, Ecuador's economy saw constant growth thanks to high oil prices. Thus, the government was able to significantly increase its social and infrastructure spending. When oil prices started to plummet in the end of 2014, economic growth began to stagnate and debt levels began to rise. The Moreno administration was forced to launch comprehensive austerity measures. In 2019, it entered into an agreement with the IMF to receive stabilisation funds. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ecuador's gross domestic product declined by 7.5 per cent in 2020. However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a 2.5 per cent growth rate for 2021.

Reforms intended to attract investors

Compared with other countries in the region, Ecuador is attracting only few international investors. In the past few years, factors that kept investors away included a lack of legal certainty, heavy government regulation, a high foreign exchange exit tax, inefficient administrative bodies, and a lack of trust in the reliability of economic policies. In August 2018, the government passed an economic reform act which is hoped to significantly increase foreign investment, for instance in tourism.