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Tuvalu Economy

    Economy—overview: Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and worker remittances. About 1,000 Tuvaluans work in Nauru in the phosphate mining industry. Nauru has begun repatriating Tuvaluans, however, as phosphate resources decline. Substantial income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. In an effort to reduce its dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts of up to 7%. In 1998, Tuvalu began selling internet addresses in its TV domain and reportedly has derived revenue from use of its area code for "900" lines. Low-lying Tuvalu is particularly vulnerable to any future global warming.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$7.8 million (1995 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 8.7% (1995)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$800 (1995 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: NA%
    industry: NA%
    services: NA%

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 3.9% (average 1985-93)

    Labor force: NA

    Labor force—by occupation: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those working abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $4.3 million
    expenditures: $4.3 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1989 est.)

    Industries: fishing, tourism, copra

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 3 million kWh (1995)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: NA%
    hydro: NA%
    nuclear: NA%
    other: NA%

    Electricity—consumption: 3 million kWh (1995)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1995)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1995)

    Agriculture—products: coconuts; fish

    Exports: $165,000 (f.o.b., 1989)

    Exports—commodities: copra

    Exports—partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ

    Imports: $4.4 million (c.i.f., 1989)

    Imports—commodities: food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods

    Imports—partners: Fiji, Australia, NZ

    Debt—external: $NA

    Economic aid—recipient: $7.9 million (1995); note—substantial annual support from an international trust fund

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

    Exchange rates: Tuvaluan dollars ($T) or Australian dollars ($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: calendar year

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