The disaster is dreadful news for Ecuador's economy, already forecast for near-zero growth this year due to plunging oil income.
The energy industry appeared largely intact although the main refinery of Esmeraldas was closed as a precaution. However, exports of bananas, flowers, cocoa beans and fish could be slowed by ruined roads and port delays.
Michael Henderson, analyst at risk consultancy Maplecroft, said Ecuador was less well equipped to recover than Chile where a 2010 earthquake caused an estimated $30 billion in damage.
"Whereas Chile's economy was rebounding strongly from the global financial crisis when its own earthquake struck, Ecuador has been slowing sharply recently as lower oil prices depress activity," he said. "But total damage to assets in dollar terms may be quite a bit lower than in Chile due to the smaller magnitude of the earthquake and the fact that Ecuador is a much poorer country."
The quake could also play into political dynamics ahead of next year's presidential election.
The government's response seemed relatively speedy, with Vice President Jorge Glas—a potential candidate in the February 2017 vote—flying into the disaster zone within hours and Correa coming straight back from a trip in Italy.
But some survivors complained about lack of electricity and supplies, and aid had still not reached some areas.
With Ecuadoreans jittery about possible looting, armed men ambushed and robbed two trucks carrying water, clothes and other basics to Pedernales from Guayaquil, authorities said.