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Tuvalu: Economy#

Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. Only eight of the atolls are inhabited. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports and is almost entirely dependent upon imported food and fuel. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Job opportunities are scarce and public sector workers make up most of those employed. About 15% of the adult male population work as seamen on merchant ships abroad, and remittances are a vital source of income contributing around $2 million in 2007. Substantial income is received annually from the Tuvalu Trust Fund (TTF) an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this fund grew from an initial $17 million to an estimated value of $77 million in 2006. The TTF contributed nearly $9 million towards the government budget in 2006 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government's budget. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to ensure financial stability and sustainability, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts. Tuvalu also derives royalties from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name with revenue of more than $2 million in 2006. A minor source of government revenue comes from the sale of stamps and coins. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and income from overseas investments. Growing income disparities and the vulnerability of the country to climatic change are among leading concerns for the nation.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$40 million (2013 est.)
$39.53 million (2012 est.)
$39.19 million (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate1.1% (2013 est.)
0.2% (2012 est.)
8.5% (2011 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$3,500 (2013 est.)
$3,500 (2012 est.)
$3,500 (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 16.6%
industry: 27.2%
services: 56.2% (2002)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Labor force - by occupationnote: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and through overseas remittances (mostly from workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
Exports - commoditiescopra, fish
Agriculture - productscoconuts; fish
Budgetrevenues: $21.54 million
expenditures: $23.05 million (2006)
Imports - commoditiesfood, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
Exchange ratesTuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.031 (2011)
1.67 (2011 est.)
1.67 (2010)
1.2822 (2009)
1.2059 (2008)
Exports$600,000 (2010 est.)
$1 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external$NA
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Imports$16.5 million (2010 est.)
$12.91 million (2005)
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Industriesfishing, tourism, copra
Inflation rate (consumer prices)3.8% (2006 est.)
Labor force3,615 (2004 est.)
Unemployment rateNA%
Current account balance-$7.7 million (2010 est.)
-$11.68 million (2003)
GDP (official exchange rate)$38 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues56.7% of GDP (2006)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-4% of GDP (2006)