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Cook Islands (self-governing in free association with New Zealand) Economy

    Economy—overview: Like many other South Pacific island nations, the Cook Islands' economic development is hindered by the isolation of the country from foreign markets, lack of natural resources, periodic devastation from natural disasters, and inadequate infrastructure. Agriculture provides the economic base with major exports made up of copra and citrus fruit. Manufacturing activities are limited to fruit-processing, clothing, and handicrafts. Trade deficits are made up for by remittances from emigrants and by foreign aid, overwhelmingly from New Zealand. In 1996, the government declared bankruptcy, citing a $120 million public debt. Efforts to exploit tourism potential and expanding the mining and fishing industries have not been enough to adequately deal with the financial crisis. In an effort to stem further erosion of the economy, the government slashed public service salaries by 50%, condensed the number of government ministries from 52 to 22, reduced the number of civil servants by more than half, began selling government assets, and closed all overseas diplomatic posts except for the one in New Zealand.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$79 million (1994 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: NA%

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$4,000 (1994 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 17%
    industry: 6%
    services: 77% (FY90/91)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

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

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.6% (1994 est.)

    Labor force: 6,601 (1993)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 29%, government 27%, services 25%, industry 15%, other 4% (1981)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $NA
    expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

    Industries: fruit processing, tourism

    Industrial production growth rate: NA%

    Electricity—production: 15 million kWh (1996)

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

    Electricity—consumption: 15 million kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: copra, citrus, pineapples, tomatoes, beans, pawpaws, bananas, yams, taro, coffee

    Exports: $4.2 million (f.o.b., 1994 est.)

    Exports—commodities: copra, fresh and canned citrus fruit, coffee; fish; pearls and pearl shells; clothing

    Exports—partners: NZ 80%, Japan, Hong Kong (1993)

    Imports: $85 million (c.i.f., 1994)

    Imports—commodities: foodstuffs, textiles, fuels, timber, capital goods

    Imports—partners: NZ 49%, Italy, Australia (1993)

    Debt—external: $160 million (1994)

    Economic aid—recipient: $13.1 million (1995); note—New Zealand furnishes the greater part

    Currency: 1 New Zealand dollar (NZ$) = 100 cents

    Exchange rates: New Zealand dollars (NZ$) per US$1—1.8560 (January 1999), 1.8629 (1998), 1.5083 (1997), 1.4543 (1996), 1.5235 (1995), 1.6844 (1994)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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