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Kiribati Economy Profile 2018

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Economy - overviewA remote country of 33 scattered coral atolls, Kiribati has few natural resources and is one of the least developed Pacific Island countries. Commercially viable phosphate deposits were exhausted by the time of independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. Earnings from fishing licenses and seafarer remittances are important sources of income, however, remittances and the number of seafarers employed declined in the global crisis, but has since improved. In 2013, fishing license revenues contributed close to half of government’s total revenue and total remittances from seafarers were equivalent to 6% of GDP.

Economic development is constrained by a shortage of skilled workers, weak infrastructure, and remoteness from international markets. The public sector dominates economic activity, with ongoing capital projects in infrastructure including road rehabilitation, water and sanitation projects, and renovations to the international airport, spurring some growth. Public debt increased from less than 10% of GDP in 2014 to 23% of GDP at the end of 2015 due to the Bonriki International Airport repair and upgrade project financed by development partner concessional loans.

Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 43% in 2013 to the government’s finances. The country’s sovereign fund, the Revenue Equalization Reserve Fund (RERF), which is held offshore, had an estimated balance of $571 million (A$756 million) in 2015, equivalent to 344% of GDP. The RERF seeks to avoid exchange rate risk by holding investments in more than 20 currencies, including the Australian dollar, US dollar, the Japanese yen, and the Euro. Drawdowns from the RERF helped finance the government’s annual budget.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$224 million (2017 est.)
$218 million (2016 est.)
$209.2 million (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$186 million (2016 est.)
GDP - real growth rate2.8% (2017 est.)
4.2% (2016 est.)
7.5% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,900 (2017 est.)
$1,900 (2016 est.)
$1,900 (2015 est.)
note: data are in 2017 dollars
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 26.3%
industry: 9.2%
services: 64.5% (2012 est.)
Population below poverty lineNA%
Labor force39,000
note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers (2010 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 15%
industry: 10%
services: 75% (2010)
Unemployment rate30.6% (2010 est.)
6.1% (2005)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24total: 54%
male: 47.6%
female: 61.8% (2010 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $197.9 million
expenditures: $179.9 million (2013 est.)
Taxes and other revenues106.4% of GDP (2013 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)9.7% of GDP (2013 est.)
Public debt26.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
23.1% of GDP (2015 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)2.2% (2017 est.)
1.9% (2016 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares$NA
Agriculture - productscopra, breadfruit, fish
Industriesfishing, handicrafts
Industrial production growth rate1.1% (2012 est.)
Current Account Balance-$9 million (2017 est.)
$27 million (2016 est.)
Exports$84.75 million (2013 est.)
$62.31 million (2012 est.)
Exports - commoditiesfish, coconut products
Exports - partnersMorocco 19.8%, Fiji 17.3%, Philippines 10.2%, US 10.1%, Vietnam 7.9%, Australia 4.2% (2016)
Imports$182.2 million (2013 est.)
$172.5 million (2012 est.)
Imports - commoditiesfood, machinery and equipment, miscellaneous manufactured goods, fuel
Imports - partnersAustralia 22.9%, NZ 20.9%, Fiji 14.1%, Singapore 10.5%, Japan 8.1%, China 6.9% (2016)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$7.479 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)
Debt - external$13.6 million (2013 est.)
$14.1 million (2012 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home$NA
Exchange ratesAustralian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -
1.311 (2017 est.)
1.3383 (2016 est.)
1.3383 (2015 est.)
1.3291 (2014 est.)
1.1094 (2013 est.)
note:: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender
Fiscal yearNA

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on January 20, 2018