Economy of the Marshall Islands

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Economy - overview: The United States Government assistance is the mainstay of this tiny island economy. Agricultural production is concentrated on small farms, and the most important commercial crops are coconuts, tomatoes, melons, and breadfruit. Small-scale industry is limited to handicrafts, fish processing, and copra. The tourist industry, now a small source of foreign exchange employing less than 10% of the labor force, remains the best hope for future added income. The islands have few natural resources, and imports far exceed exports. Under the terms of the Compact of Free Association, the US provides roughly $65 million in annual aid. Negotiations were underway in 1999 for an extended agreement. Government downsizing, drought, a drop in construction, and the decline in tourism and foreign investment due to the Asian financial difficulties caused GDP to fall in 1996-98.

GDP: purchasing power parity - $105 million (1998 est.), supplemented by approximately $65 million annual US aid.
GDP - real growth rate: -5% (1998 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $1,670 (1998 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 15%
industry: 13%
services: 72% (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1997)
Unemployment rate: 16% (1991 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $80.1 million
expenditures: $77.4 million, including capital expenditures of $19.5 million (FY95/96 est.)
Industries: copra, fish, tourism, craft items from shell, wood, and pearls, offshore banking (embryonic)
Electricity - production: 57 million kWh (1994)
Electricity - consumption: 57 million kWh (1994)
Agriculture - products: coconuts, cacao, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens
Exports: $28 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
Exports - commodities: fish, coconut oil, fish, trochus shells
Exports - partners: United States, Japan, Australia
Imports: $58 million (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and tobacco
Imports - partners: United States, Japan, Australia, NZ, Guam, Singapore
Debt - external: $125 million (FY96/97 est.)
Economic aid - recipient: approximately $65 million annually from the United States
Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

SOURCE: The World Factbook

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Marshall Islands > Map Economy