Ecuador has substantial oil resources and rich agricultural areas. Because the country exports primarily oil, bananas, and shrimp, fluctuations in world market prices can have a substantial domestic impact. The aftermath of El Nino and the recent depressed oil market of 1997-98 drove Ecuador's economy downward. The banking sector collapsed during the late 1990's. Initial effects were bankrupt banks, increasing unemployment and concerns via its Brady Bonds with the United States. The Ecuadorian economy has yet to recover from its recent roller coaster ride. In fact, in 2000 their currency experienced a dollarization from their "Sucre" currency. The move has stabilized the currency, but is expected to trickle its benefit across industries and their exporting agreements. Today's government continues to prioritize their fiscal objectives as they manage foreign debt. Tourism has risen in their recent priority list.
Ecuador oil has played a dominant role in the country's economy since the early 1970s. The oil is carried through a pipeline that crosses the Andes to the Pacific port of Esmeraldas, where a refinery operates. Over the last century, economic development depended on the exports of first cocoa and the bananas, of which Ecuador was the world's largest exporter for several decades. Now most recently, Ecuador has gained worldwide distribution of its flowers. Their strength comes from their roses which are grown mainly in the coastal lowlands.
In the highlands subsistence agriculture and the production of staples for the urban areas are predominant (corn, wheat, barley, potatoes, pulses, and various vegetables). In the coastal lowlands tropical crops are grown to export. Since the late 1940s, bananas have been the main commercial crop of this region.
Small quantities of gold, silver, copper and zinc are produced. The country is known to have deposits of uranium, iron ore, lead, and coal. The manufacture of straw hat was the main export industry.