Trinidad and Tobago Economy Facts

Economical overview

Trinidad and Tobago have one of the strongest economies in the Western Hemisphere, thanks to large oil and natural gas resources. However, declining natural gas production and falling prices, as well as increasing competition in the world market, have led the economy to shrink for several years.

The economy is different from the Caribbean neighbors. Tourism, small-scale manufacturing and agriculture play less role in Trinidad and Tobago. Instead, extraction of natural gas and crude oil and industrial activities linked to these assets dominate.

  • Major imports by Trinidad and Tobago, covering a full list of top products imported by the country and trade value for each product category.

The energy sector normally accounts for just over one-third of gross domestic product (GDP) and 80 percent of exports (but only a small proportion of employment).

Oil production became the country’s largest industry already in the 1940s. Rising oil prices in the 1970s led to rapid growth. A decline followed when prices fell in the 1980s, but with the help of foreign loans, privatizations of state-owned enterprises and an investment in natural gas (see Natural Resources and Energy), followed real growth from the 1990s.

High energy prices contributed to an average growth of 8 percent in 2000-2007, well above the regional average. The booming economy enabled investments in infrastructure as well as social investments such as increased pensions and minimum wages.

  • Check this abbreviation website to find three letter ISO codes for all countries in the world, including TTO which represents the country of Trinidad and Tobago. Check findjobdescriptions to learn more about Trinidad and Tobago.

Then came the collapse in connection with the global financial crisis of 2008. A weak recovery for a few years was followed by the sharp fall in prices in the energy market from 2014. Growth was negative for several years. In the long term, not only declining natural gas assets are a problem, but also competition from shale gas in the US and production of liquefied natural gas in Qatar, among others.

The dependence on oil and gas revenues has prompted Trinidad and Tobago to try to develop other economic areas since the 1980s. Investments have been made in IT, the hospitality industry and the financial sector. Success has been limited, but the country has developed into something of a regional financial center. There are several banks, financial institutions and insurance companies.

High crime and stingy bureaucracy are among the things that deter foreign investors. The United States classifies Trinidad and Tobago, as do most countries in the region, as a country where money laundering is common.


GDP per person

US $ 16,844 (2018)

Total GDP

US $ 23,410 million (2018)

GDP growth

0.7 percent (2018)

Agriculture’s share of GDP

0.5 percent (2018)

Manufacturing industry’s share of GDP

15.9 percent (2018)

The service sector’s share of GDP

57.1 percent (2018)


0.9 percent (2019)

Government debt’s share of GDP

45.1 percent (2018)


Trinidad / Tobago Dollar

Assistance per person

US $ 3 (2010)

Trinidad and Tobago Economy Facts

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