Ecuador's economy is the eighth largest in Latin America and experienced an average growth of 4.6% between 2000 and 2006. From 2007 to 2012 Ecuador's GDP grew at an annual average of 4.3 percent, above the average for Latin America and the Caribbean, which was 3.5%, according to the United Nations' Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean (ECLAC). Ecuador was able to maintain relatively superior growth during the crisis. In January 2009 the Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE) put the 2010 growth forecast at 6.88%.In 2011 its GDP grew at 8% and ranked 3rd highest in Latin America, behind Argentina (2nd) and Panama (1st). Between 1999 and 2007, GDP doubled, reaching $65,490 million according to BCE. Inflation rate up to January 2008 was located about 1.14%, the highest recorded in the last year, according to the government. The monthly unemployment rate remained at about 6 and 8 percent from December 2007 until September 2008; however, it went up to about 9 percent in October and dropped again in November 2008 to 8 percent. Unemployment mean annual rate for 2009 in Ecuador was 8.5 percent because the global economic crisis continued to affect the Latin American economies. From this point unemployment rates started a downward trend: 7.6 percent in 2010, 6.0 percent in 2011, and 4.8 percent in 2012.
The extreme poverty rate has declined significantly between 1999 and 2010. In 2001 it was estimated at 40% of the population, while by 2011 the figure dropped to 17.4% of the total population. This is explained to an extent by emigration and the economic stability achieved after adopting the U.S. dollar as official means of transaction. However, starting in 2008 with the bad economic performance of the nations where most Ecuadorian emigrants work, the reduction of poverty has been realized through social spending mainly in education and health.
Oil accounts for 40% of exports and contributes to maintaining a positive trade balance. Since the late 1960s, the exploitation of oil increased production, and proven reserves are estimated at 6.51 billion barrels as of 2011.
The overall trade balance for August 2012 was a surplus of almost $390 million for the first six months of 2012, a huge figure compared with that of 2007, which reached only $5.7 million; the surplus had risen by about $425 million compared to 2006. The oil trade balance positive had revenues of $3.295 million in 2008, while non-oil was negative, amounting to $2.842 million. The trade balance with the United States, Chile, the European Union, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico is positive. The trade balance with Argentina, Colombia, and Asia is negative.
In the agricultural sector, Ecuador is a major exporter of bananas (first place worldwide in production and export), flowers, and the seventh largest producer of cocoa. The shrimp, sugar cane, rice, cotton, corn, palm, and coffee productions are also significant. The country's vast resources include large amounts of timber across the country, like eucalyptus and mangroves. Pines and cedars are planted in the region of La Sierra and walnuts, rosemary, and balsa wood in the Guayas River Basin. The industry is concentrated mainly in Guayaquil, the largest industrial center, and in Quito, where in recent years the industry has grown considerably. This city is also the largest business center of the country. Industrial production is directed primarily to the domestic market. Despite this, there is limited export of products produced or processed industrially. These include canned foods, liquor, jewelry, furniture, and more. A minor industrial activity is also concentrated in Cuenca. The incomes due to the tourism have been increasing during the last years because of the efforts of the Government of showing the variety of climates and the biodiversity in Ecuador.
Ecuador has negotiated bilateral treaties with other countries, besides belonging to the Andean Community of Nations, and an associate member of Mercosur. It also serves on the World Trade Organization (WTO), in addition to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF),Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF) and other multilateral agencies. In April 2007, Ecuador paid off its debt to the IMF, thus ending an era of interventionism of the Agency in the country. The public finance of Ecuador consists of the Central Bank of Ecuador (BCE), the National Development Bank (BNF), the State Bank, the National Finance Corporation, the Ecuadorian Housing Bank (BEV) and the Ecuadorian Educational Loans and Grants.
Between 2006 and 2009, the government increased social spending on social welfare and education from 2.6% to 5.2% of its GDP. Starting in 2007, with an economy surpassed by the economic crisis, Ecuador was subject to a number of economic policy reforms by the government that have helped steer the Ecuadorian economy to a sustained, substantial, and focused financial stability and social policy. Such policies were expansionary fiscal policies, of access to housing finance, stimulus packs, and limiting the amount of money reserves banks could keep abroad. The Ecuadorian Government has made huge investments in education and infrastructure throughout the nation, which have improved the lives of the poor.
In 2000, Ecuador changed its currency from the sucre to the U.S. dollar following a banking crisis.
On 12 December 2008, president Correa announced that Ecuador would not pay $30.6 million in interest to lenders of a $510-million loan, claiming that they were monsters. In addition, it claimed that $3.8 billion in foreign debt negotiated by previous administrations was illegitimate because it was authorised without executive decree. At the time of the announcement, the country had $5.65 billion in cash reserves States that "Since Ecuador's President Rafael Correa won a third term in 2013, this should provide further stability and a good rate of growth for Ecuador's economy."