Ecuador - Industry

Ecuador enjoyed a period of prosperity in the 1970s, due in large part to a boom in oil. A decline in international oil prices, an earthquake in 1987, and political difficulties hampered industrial development during the 1980s. During 1988–98, manufacturing output increased by an annual average of 2.5% per year. According to official estimates, in 1998 manufacturing contributed an estimated 22% GDP, but achieved only minimal growth during that year, and negative growth in 1999. A default on external debt in 1999 resulted in a 70% depreciation of the currency which negatively impacted the industrial sector. The subsequent dollarization and rise in oil prices in the early 2000s caused a rise in export revenue.

Ecuador had three oil refineries in 2002, with a production capacity of 176,000 barrels per day. The construction of the new Transandean Heavy Oil Pipeline (OCP, in Spanish) due for completion in 2003 slated the petroleum industry for further growth. The most promising sectors, outside of oil, are linked to agriculture and natural resources. In the agricultural sector, expansion has come from processed foods and nontraditional agricultural products, such as flowers and fresh tropical fruits (mango, babaco, and passion fruit) and vegetables (asparagus and heart of palm). Other major manufactured items include canned seafood, automobiles, processed coffee, and cocoa. Ecuador produced 2,760 automobiles in 2001, up from 900 in 2000. Other industries include textiles, chemicals, wood products, metal work, paper products, and plastics.

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