Ecuador's pinch

Patrick Crow Washington, D.C. Low oil prices are hurting oil-exporting nations, and Ecuador is a prime example. It posted its largest trade deficit ever last year, $957 million, due to double blows from El Ni?o and the collapse of world oil prices. In 1997, it had registered a $598 million surplus. For the first time since 1972, crude and products were no longer the country's largest source of export earnings, slipping to $825 million. They trailed behind bananas at $1.07 billion and shrimp at $852 million. The last time Ecuador ran a trade deficit was in 1987, when an earthquake destroyed its main crude pipeline and interrupted it...

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