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British Virgin Islands (overseas territory of the UK) Economy 1999

    Economy—overview: The economy, one of the most prosperous in the Caribbean, is highly dependent on tourism, which generates an estimated 45% of the national income. In the mid-1980s, the government began offering offshore registration to companies wishing to incorporate in the islands, and incorporation fees now generate substantial revenues. An estimated 250,000 companies were on the offshore registry by yearend 1997. The adoption of a comprehensive insurance law in late 1994, which provides a blanket of confidentiality with regulated statutory gateways for investigation of criminal offenses, is expected to make the British Virgin Islands even more attractive to international business. Livestock raising is the most important agricultural activity; poor soils limit the islands' ability to meet domestic food requirements. Because of traditionally close links with the US Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands has used the dollar as its currency since 1959.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$183 million (1997 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 4.7% (1997)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,000 (1997 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 1%
    industry: 1.4%
    services: 97.6% (1991-95 average)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 6.5% (1997)

    Labor force: 4,911 (1980)

    Labor force—by occupation: tourism NA%

    Unemployment rate: 3% (1995)

    revenues: $121.5 million
    expenditures: $115.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997)

    Industries: tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete block, offshore financial center

    Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1985)

    Electricity—production: 42 million kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 42 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: fruits, vegetables; livestock, poultry; fish

    Exports: $23.9 million (1996)

    Exports—commodities: rum, fresh fish, fruits, animals; gravel, sand

    Exports—partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

    Imports: $121.5 million (1996)

    Imports—commodities: building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, machinery

    Imports—partners: Virgin Islands (US), Puerto Rico, US

    Debt—external: $34.8 million (1996)

    Economic aid—recipient: $2.6 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: US currency is used

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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