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Greenland: Economy#

The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish, income from resource exploration and extraction, and on a substantial subsidy from the Danish Government. The subsidy was budgeted to be about $651 million in 2012, approximately 56% of government revenues that year. The public sector, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in Greenland's economy. Greenland's real GDP contracted about 1% in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, but is estimated to have grown marginally in 2010-13. The relative ease with which Greenland has weathered the economic crisis is due to increased hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and extraction activities, a high level of construction activity in the Nuuk area and the increasing price of fish and shrimp. During the last decade the Greenland Home Rule Government (GHRG) pursued conservative fiscal and monetary policies, but public pressure has increased for better schools, health care and retirement systems. The Greenlandic economy has benefited from increasing catches and exports of shrimp, Greenland halibut and, more recently, crabs. Due to Greenland's continued dependence on exports of fish - which accounted for 89% of exports in 2010 - the economy remains very sensitive to foreign developments. International consortia are increasingly active in exploring for hydrocarbon resources off Greenland's western coast, and international studies indicate the potential for oil and gas fields in northern and northeastern Greenland. In May 2007 a US aluminum producer concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Greenland Home Rule Government to build an aluminum smelter and a power generation facility, which takes advantage of Greenland's abundant hydropower potential. Within the area of mining, olivine sand continues to be produced and gold production has resumed in south Greenland, while rare-earth and iron ore mineral projects have been proposed or planned elsewhere on the island. Tourism also offers another avenue of economic growth for Greenland, with increasing numbers of cruise lines now operating in Greenland's western and southern waters during the peak summer tourism season.

Economic Facts#

GDP (purchasing power parity)$2.133 billion (2011 est.)
$2.071 billion (2010 est.)
$1.974 billion (2009 est.)
note: data are in 2011 US dollars
GDP - real growth rate3% (2011 est.)
4.9% (2010 est.)
-2.7% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$38,400 (2008 est.)
$36,600 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition, by sector of originagriculture: 4%
industry: 29%
services: 67% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line9.2% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 4%
industry: 29%
services: 67% (2009 est.)
Exports - commoditiesfish and fish products 89%, metals 10% (2008)
Exports - partnersDenmark 60.4%, Japan 14.6%, China 7.9% (2012)
Agriculture - productsforage crops, garden and greenhouse vegetables; sheep, reindeer; fish
Budgetrevenues: $1.72 billion
expenditures: $1.68 billion (2010)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, petroleum products
Imports - partnersDenmark 65.4%, Sweden 17.5%, Netherlands 5.5% (2012)
Exchange ratesDanish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
5.695 (2011)
5.6241 (2012)
5.6241 (2010)
5.361 (2009)
5.0236 (2008)
Exports$384.3 million (2010)
$358 million (2009)
Debt - external$36.4 million (2010)
$58 million (2009)
Fiscal yearcalendar year
Imports$814.2 million (2010)
$726 million (2009)
Industrial production growth rateNA%
Industriesfish processing (mainly shrimp and Greenland halibut); gold, niobium, tantalite, uranium, iron and diamond mining; handicrafts, hides and skins, small shipyards
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.8% (2011 est.)
1.7% (2010 est.)
Labor force28,600 (2011)
Unemployment rate9.4% (2013 est.)
4.2% (2010 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)$2.16 billion (2011 est.)
Taxes and other revenues79.6% of GDP (2010)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)1.9% of GDP (2010)