Economy of Trinidad and Tobago

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Economy of Trinidad and Tobago
Port of Spain night skyline 2008.jpg
Downtown Port of Spain at night
Currency Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD)
1 October – 30 September
Trade organisations
CARICOM
Statistics
GDP $30.12 billion (2015 est.)
GDP growth
1.5% (2015), -6.0% (2016),
-2.3% (2017e), 1.6% (2018f) [1]
GDP per capita
$32,637 (2015 actual) [2]
GDP by sector
agriculture: 0.4%; industry: 48.8%; services: 50.8% (2017 est.)
3.2% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
4% (2007 est.)
39.0 (2012 est.)
Labour force
629,400 (2017 est.)
Labour force by occupation
agriculture: 3.8%; manufacturing, mining, and quarrying: 12.8%; construction and utilities: 20.40%; services: 62.9% (2007 est.)
Unemployment4.1% (2017 est.)
Main industries
petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, food processing, cement, cotton textiles
96th (2017) [3]
External
Exports$11 billion (2015 est.)
Export goods
petroleum and petroleum products, liquefied natural gas (LNG), methanol, ammonia, urea, steel products, beverages, cereal and cereal products, sugar, cocoa, coffee, citrus fruit, vegetables, flowers
Main export partners
Flag of the United States.svg United States 37%
Flag of Brazil.svg Brazil 8.2%
Flag of Argentina.svg Argentina 8.0%
Flag of Chile.svg Chile 7.2%
Flag of Peru.svg Peru 4.5% (2015 est.) [4]
Imports$5.9 billion (2015 est.)
Import goods
mineral fuels, lubricants, machinery, transportation equipment, manufactured goods, food, chemicals, live animals
Main import partners
Flag of the United States.svg United States 38%
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China 8.2%
Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore 4.6%
(2015 est.) [5]
$4.78 billion (31 December 2012 est.)
Public finances
61.6% of GDP (December 2017 est.) [6]
Revenues$6.916 billion (2017 est.)
Expenses$7.838 billion (2017 est.) [7]
A+ (Domestic)
A (Foreign)
AA (T&C Assessment)
(Standard & Poor's) [8]
Foreign reserves
$8.28 billion (January 2018 est.) [9]
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Trinidad and Tobago is the wealthiest country in the Caribbean as well as the third-richest country by GDP (PPP) per capita in the Americas. It is recognised as a high-income economy by the World Bank. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the country's economy is primarily industrial, [10] with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. The country's wealth is attributed to its large reserves and exploitation of oil and natural gas. [11] [12]

Trinidad and Tobago Island country in the Caribbean Sea

Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country that is the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela. It shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.

World Bank high-income economy

A high-income economy is defined by the World Bank as a country with a gross national income per capita of US$12,056 or more in 2017, calculated using the Atlas method. While the term "high-income" is often used interchangeably with "First World" and "developed country", the technical definitions of these terms differ. The term "first world" commonly refers to countries that aligned themselves with the U.S. and NATO during the Cold War. Several institutions, such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or International Monetary Fund (IMF), take factors other than high per capita income into account when classifying countries as "developed" or "advanced economies". According to the United Nations, for example, some high-income countries may also be developing countries. The GCC countries, for example, are classified as developing high-income countries. Thus, a high-income country may be classified as either developed or developing. Although the Holy See is a sovereign state, it is not classified by the World Bank under this definition.

Petrochemical chemical product derived from petroleum

Petrochemicals are chemical products derived from petroleum. Some chemical compounds made from petroleum are also obtained from other fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas, or renewable sources such as corn, palm fruit or sugar cane.

Contents

Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America. Recent growth has been fueled by investments in liquefied natural gas (LNG) and petrochemicals. Additional petrochemical, aluminium, and plastics projects are in various stages of planning.

Liquefied natural gas natural gas converted to liquid form for storage or transport

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport. It takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas in the gaseous state (at standard conditions for temperature and pressure). It is odorless, colorless, non-toxic and non-corrosive. Hazards include flammability after vaporization into a gaseous state, freezing and asphyxia. The liquefaction process involves removal of certain components, such as dust, acid gases, helium, water, and heavy hydrocarbons, which could cause difficulty downstream. The natural gas is then condensed into a liquid at close to atmospheric pressure by cooling it to approximately −162 °C (−260 °F); maximum transport pressure is set at around 25 kPa (4 psi).

Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region. Oil and gas account for about 40% of GDP and 80% of exports, but only 5% of employment.

Regional financial center

The country is also a regional financial center, and tourism is a growing sector, although it is not proportionately as important as in many other Caribbean islands. The economy benefits from a growing trade surplus. Economic growth reached 12.6% in 2006 and 5.5% in 2007 as prices for oil, petrochemicals, and LNG remained high, and as foreign direct investment continued to grow to support expanded capacity in the energy sector.

Trinidad and Tobago's infrastructure is adequate by regional standards. A major expansion of the Piarco International Airport in Trinidad, the country's main airport, was completed in 2001. There is an extensive network of paved roads, and utilities which are fairly reliable in the cities. Some areas, however, especially rural districts, still suffer from water shortages. The government is addressing this problem with the construction of additional desalinization plants. Infrastructure improvement, especially rural roads and telephone service, drainage, and sewerage, are among the government's budget priorities.

Piarco International Airport airport

Piarco International Airport, and frequently shortened to Piarco International, Piarco Airport, or simply Piarco, is an international airport serving the island of Trinidad and is one of two international airports in Trinidad and Tobago. The airport is located 30 km (19 mi) east of Downtown Port of Spain, located in the adjacent town of Piarco. It is the seventh busiest airport in the Caribbean in terms of passengers served and third busiest in the English-speaking Caribbean, after Sangster International Airport and Lynden Pindling International Airport. The airport is also the primary hub and operating base for the country's national airline, as well as the Caribbean's largest airline, Caribbean Airlines.

Transport Human-directed movement of things or people between locations

Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another. In other words the action of transport is defined as a particular movement of an organism or thing from a point A to the Point B. Modes of transport include air, land, water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations. Transport is important because it enables trade between people, which is essential for the development of civilizations.

Budget balance sheet or statement of estimated receipts and expenditures

A budget is a financial plan for a defined period, often one year. It may also include planned sales volumes and revenues, resource quantities, costs and expenses, assets, liabilities and cash flows. Companies, governments, families and other organizations use it to express strategic plans of activities or events in measurable terms.

Communications and mobile

Trinidad and Tobago has a relatively modern, robust and reliable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure. Mobile phone service is widespread and has been the major area of growth for several years. Digicel and Laqtel were granted cellular licenses in 2005, breaking the monopoly of the sole provider of mobile telephony services TSTT. However, as of 2015 TSTT and Digicel remain the only mobile providers. Internet connectivity has seen the participation of much more players than mobile telephone with the presence of five (5) broadband service providers/ISPs.

Mobile telephony collective term for the operation of mobile telephone devices

Mobile telephony is the provision of telephone services to phones which may move around freely rather than stay fixed in one location. Mobile phones connect to a terrestrial cellular network of base stations, whereas satellite phones connect to orbiting satellites. Both networks are interconnected to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to allow any phone in the world to be dialed.

Digicel is a mobile phone network provider operating in 33 markets across the Caribbean, Central America, and Oceania regions. The company is owned by the Irish billionaire Denis O'Brien, is incorporated in Bermuda, and based in Jamaica. It has about 14 million wireless users.

Laqtel

LaqTel Ltd. was a privately held up-start mobile phone and wireless service provider, of Trinidad and Tobago. A division of Telcom Holdings Ltd. (TH), LaqTel was first founded in 2002 by Joseph Laquis, the current CEO of LaqTel Communications is Michael Barrow.

Energy sector

Trinidad and Tobago has been involved in the petroleum sector for over one hundred years. There has been considerable oil and gas production on land and in shallow water, with cumulative production totaling over three billion barrels of oil. Trinidad and Tobago is the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Caribbean. In the 1990s, the hydrocarbon sector moved from producing mainly oil to producing mostly natural gas. According to the EIA, in 2013, proven crude oil reserves were estimated at 728 million barrels, while 3P natural gas reserves were 25.24 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) (Ryder Scott Audit 2012).

Trinidad and Tobago houses one of the largest natural gas processing facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The Phoenix Park Gas Processors Limited (PPGPL) natural gas liquids (NGL) complex is located in the Port of Savonetta. It has a processing capacity of almost 2 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day and an output capacity of 70,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of NGL. After processing the gas is then transferred to the various power generators (POWERGEN, TGU, or Trinity Power) for generation of electricity and to the petrochemical plants for use as a feedstock.

Couva Town in Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo, Trinidad and Tobago

Couva is an urban town in west-central Trinidad, south of Port of Spain and Chaguanas and north of San Fernando and Point Fortin. It is the main urban and commercial centre of Couva–Tabaquite–Talparo, and the Greater Couva area includes the Point Lisas Industrial Estate and the Port of Point Lisas. It is one of the fastest growing towns in the country. Couva's southern boundary is at the village of California & Point Lisas, and to the north Couva stretches to McBean. To the east of Couva is Preysal. To the west of Couva is the road to Waterloo and Carli Bay, which are located on the Gulf of Paria. Couva is part of the Caroni County. Couva is considered a major power base for the United National Congress (UNC), whose headquarters are located here.

The electricity sector is fueled entirely by natural gas. Trinidad Generation Unlimited power plant, the second combined cycle plant in the country, with a generating capacity of 720MW, was opened on 31 October 2013.

With 11 ammonia plants and seven methanol plants, Trinidad and Tobago was the world's largest exporter of ammonia and the second largest exporter of methanol in 2013, according to IHS Global Insight. [13] Overall production and export for ammonia, methanol, urea, and UAN decreased to 428,240 metric monnes (MT) in 2013 from 564,892 MT in 2012.

The Ministry of Energy and Energy Affairs (MEEA) has encouraged investment in projects for "downstream" processing of petrochemicals, such as the manufacture of calcium chloride and dimethyl ether (DME). Such projects are expected to generate more local employment and more growth in local manufacturing than traditional petrochemical processing.

The energy sector accounts for around 45.0% of the country's GDP. The Central Bank predicted real GDP growth in Trinidad and Tobago of 2.6% in 2014, up from 1.6% in 2013, as the country's energy sector recovered from maintenance delays that reduced activity in the third quarter of 2013.

MEEA predicted that production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) would rise by 2.0% to 40.0bcm in 2014, following an estimated 1.5% drop in production in 2013. Production of petrochemicals was also expected to rebound, following an 8.0% drop in output in the third quarter of 2013, as several companies aligned their production schedules with the natural gas shortfall. [14]

Job market

The job market in Trinidad and Tobago stands at a very lucrative position. According to the [15] Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), developed nations of the world. In addition the thriving energy sector, the nation controls 0.25% [16] of the world's natural gas with a GDP of twenty billion US dollars (US$20.5b). [17] These factors are quintessential in driving the demand for quality labor, especially in specialized area as it pertains to the energy sector. Such area of specialization are for the first time in history being sought after in this little nation, but requires the expertise of ex pats to fill. According to former Prime Minister Patrick Manning, [18] the nation is the financial capital of the Caribbean, and being so heavily reliant on the oil and energy sectors, fosters and facilitates an environment of constant demand for specialized jobs.In addition, the Natural Gas sector is for the first time facing competition from countries such as Qatar and the United States. All these factors are stimulating the need to produce local specialist as the demand increases.They are also clear indications that the nation is at the end of an economic downturn and poised for a period of economic boom.

A wealth of obs would be created in the short run to feed a diversity of economic demands across all sectors of the economy. Finance minister Winston Dookeran unveiled the largest budget (TT$54b) in the history of the nation in October 2011, reiterating the government's resolve to transform the economy, which will boost investor confidence in the nation. This process of transformation will create a hosts of jobs and numerous foreign investor opportunities. [19] The proverbial wheels of the economy are being oiled the economy and other areas of the economy such as the Financial and Manufacturing Sectors will benefit tremendously from the spin offs.

Government ministers have already made plans to facilitate viable tools in assisting with the roll out. Within the past couple years government agencies have begun to utilize recruitment tools such as agencies and job boards. [20] The government have recognized the usefulness in sourcing and outsourcing labor from different areas. Recruitment on the whole in Trinidad and Tobago have experienced huge strides, from the traditional snail mail to company's emails and job boards. Local experts have mentioned that moving forward in such a small area is a big tool to in executing and rolling out macro plans smoothly.

Tourism

Tourism is another area which it is believed will soon develop rapidly, and an increased demand for jobs.[ citation needed ] The European Union Council on Tourism and Trade (EUCTT) has also awarded the nation as being "The Best Tourist Destination for 2012". Local hotels have already begun to make plans to facilitate an influx of European tourists upon the nation receiving this designation. [21] However, the EUCTT is not affiliated with any part of the European Union's Institutions. [22] Despite concerns over the global economy, international tourism demand continues to show resilience. The number of international tourists worldwide grew by 5% (22 million) between January and June 2012, with Asia and the Pacific (+8%) leading the growth among the regions. Given this growth rate a total of one billion international tourists are expected by the end of 2012. In 2011, the total contribution of World Travel & Tourism to global GDP was USD6,346.1bn (9.1% of GDP). In 2011, the Caribbean region received 20.9 million tourists, a growth of 4.4% over the same period in 2010. The Caribbean is the most dependent region on tourism with Travel and Tourism contributing 13.9% (US$47.1bn) to its economic output. Trinidad and Tobago received an estimated 402,058 visitors in 2011, representing 2% of all Caribbean visitor arrivals. Due to the multifaceted nature of tourism, its economic impact is not confined to any single industry. To adequately measure the economic impact of the tourism sector, the United Nations World Travel and Tourism Council (UNWTO) devised the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), an extension of the System of National Accounts (SNA). The TSA is a detailed production account of the tourism sector showing its linkages to major industries, total employment, capital formation and additional macro-economic variables. [23]

Tourist arrival statistics

Most visitors arriving to Trinidad and Tobago on short-term basis in 2014 were from the following countries of nationality: [24]

RankCountryNumber
1United States161,539
2Canada54,877
3United Kingdom37,473
4Guyana23,061
5Venezuela21,052
6Barbados11,629
7Grenada6,922
8Germany5,154
9India3,291
Total324,998

Creative industries

Recently, the country's economy has been negatively affected by fluctuating oil and gas prices and in an effort to undergo economic transformation through diversification, the government has identified the creative industries, particularly the music, film and fashion sectors, as pivotal to long-term economic sustainability. As such, the Trinidad and Tobago Creative Industries Company Limited (CreativeTT) was established in 2013 to oversee the strategic and business development of the three (3) niche areas of film, fashion and music. [25]

Miscellaneous

Economic aid – recipient: $200,000 (2007 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $8.095 billion (February 2018 est.)

Currency: 1 Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TT$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Trinidad and Tobago dollars (TT$) per US$1 :

6.7283 (2017) 6.6152 (2016) 6.3298 (2015) 6.3613 (2014) 6.3885 (2013) 6.3716 (2012) 6.4200 (2011 est) 6.3337 (2010) 6.3099 (2009) 6.2896 (2008) 6.3275 (2007) 6.3107 (2006) 6.2842 (2005), 6.2990 (2004), 6.2951 (2003), 6.2487 (2002), 6.2332 (2001), 6.2697 (2000), 6.2963 (1999), 6.2983 (1998), 6.2517 (1997), 6.0051 (1996), 5.9478 (1995)

Stock of direct foreign investment – at home: $12.44 billion (2007)

Stock of direct foreign investment – abroad: $1.419 billion (2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares: $15.57 billion (2006)

Fiscal year: 1 October – 30 September

See also

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