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Tonga Economy

    Economy—overview: The economy's base is agriculture, which contributes 32% to GDP. Squash, coconuts, bananas, and vanilla beans are the main crops, and agricultural exports make up two-thirds of total exports. The country must import a high proportion of its food, mainly from New Zealand. The industrial sector accounts for only 10% of GDP. Tourism is the primary source of hard currency earnings. The country remains dependent on sizable external aid and remittances to offset its trade deficit. The government is emphasizing the development of the private sector, especially the encouragement of investment.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$232 million (FY97/98 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -1.5% (FY97/98 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$2,100 (FY97/98 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 32%
    industry: 10%
    services: 58% (1996)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2% (1997 est.)

    Labor force: 36,665 (1994)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 65% (1997 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 11.8% (FY93/94)

    Budget:
    revenues: $49 million
    expenditures: $120 million, including capital expenditures of $75 million (FY96/97 est.)

    Industries: tourism, fishing

    Industrial production growth rate: 1.9% (FY95/96)

    Electricity—production: 30 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 30 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper; fish

    Exports: $11.9 million (f.o.b., FY97/98)

    Exports—commodities: squash, fish, vanilla, root crops, coconut oil

    Exports—partners: Japan 43%, US 19%, Canada 14%, NZ 5%, Australia 5% (1996 est.)

    Imports: $78.9 million (f.o.b., FY97/98)

    Imports—commodities: food products, live animals, machinery and transport equipment, manufactures, fuels, chemicals

    Imports—partners: NZ 34%, Australia 16%, US 10%, UK 8%, Japan 6% (1996 est.)

    Debt—external: $62 million (1998)

    Economic aid—recipient: $38.8 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 pa'anga (T$) = 100 seniti

    Exchange rates: pa'anga (T$) per US$1—1.6171 (December 1998), 1.4921 (1998), 1.2635 (1997), 1.2323 (1996), 1.2709 (1995), 1.3202 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 July—30 June

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)