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Kiribati Economy

    Economy—overview: A remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few national resources. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted at the time of independence from the UK in 1979. Copra and fish now represent the bulk of production and exports. The economy has fluctuated widely in recent years. Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The financial sector is at an early stage of development as is the expansion of private sector initiatives. Foreign financial aid, largely from the UK and Japan, is a critical supplement to GDP, equal to 25%-50% of GDP in recent years. Remittances from workers abroad account for more than $5 million each year.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$62 million (1996 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 1.9% (1996 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$800 (1996 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 14%
    industry: 7%
    services: 79% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): -0.6% (1996 est.)

    Labor force: 7,870 economically active, not including subsistence farmers (1985 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 2%; underemployment 70% (1992 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $33.3 million
    expenditures: $47.7 million, including capital expenditures of $NA million (1996 est.)

    Industries: fishing, handicrafts

    Industrial production growth rate: 0.7% (1992 est.)

    Electricity—production: 7 million kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 7 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: copra, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, vegetables; fish

    Exports: $6.7 million (f.o.b., 1996 est.)

    Exports—commodities: copra 62%, seaweed, fish

    Exports—partners: US, Australia, NZ (1996)

    Imports: $37.4 million (c.i.f., 1996 est.)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel

    Imports—partners: Australia 46%, Fiji, Japan, NZ, US (1996)

    Debt—external: $7.2 million (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $15.5 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Australian dollar ($A) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: Australian dollars ($A) per US$1—1.5853 (January 1999), 1.5888 (1998), 1.3439 (1997), 1.2773 (1996), 1.3486 (1995), 1.3667 (1994)

    Fiscal year: NA

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