Antigua and Barbuda: Economy
Antigua and Barbuda's service-based economy contracted by 4.1% in 2010, experiencing its third consecutive year of decline. The Antiguan economy experienced solid growth from 2003 to 2007, reaching over 12% in 2006. Growth was driven by a construction boom in hotels and housing associated with the Cricket World Cup, but it dropped off in 2008 with the end of the boom. In 2009, Antigua was severely hit by the global economic crisis, suffering from the collapse of its largest financial institution and a steep drop in tourism. The economic decline continued in 2010 as the country struggled with a large deficit.
To lessen its vulnerability to natural disasters and economic shocks, Antigua has sought to diversify its economy by encouraging growth in transportation, communications, Internet gambling, and financial services.
Antigua and Barbuda's currency is the Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$), a regional currency shared among members of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues the EC$, manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries. The ECCB has kept the EC$ pegged at EC$2.7=U.S. $1.
Antigua and Barbuda is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative, which grants duty-free entry into the United States for many goods. In 2005, 7.7% of its total exports went to the United States, and 48.9% of its total imports came from the United States. Antigua and Barbuda also belongs to the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Sources:CIA World Factbook (March 2012)
U.S. Dept. of State Country Background Notes ( March 2012)