Bhutan Economy - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Economic overview

Bhutan's small economy is based largely on hydropower, agriculture, and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than half the population. Because rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive, industrial production is primarily of the cottage industry type. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and is dependent on India for financial assistance and migrant laborers for development projects, especially for road construction. Bhutan signed a pact in December 2014 to expand duty-free trade with Bangladesh.

Multilateral development organizations administer most educational, social, and environment programs, and take into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government is cautious in its expansion of the tourist sector, restricing visits to environmentally conscientious tourists. Complicated controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment.

Bhutan’s largest export - hydropower to India - could spur sustainable growth in the coming years if Bhutan resolves chronic delays in construction. Bhutan’s hydropower exports comprise 40% of total exports and 25% of the government’s total revenue. Bhutan currently taps only 6.5% of its 24,000-megawatt hydropower potential and is behind schedule in building 12 new hydropower dams with a combined capacity of 10,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with a deal signed in 2008 with India. The high volume of imported materials to build hydropower plants has expanded Bhutan's trade and current account deficits. Bhutan also signed a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh and India in July 2017 to jointly construct a new hydropower plant for exporting electricity to Bangladesh.

Real GDP growth rate

7.4% (2017 est.)

7.3% (2016 est.)

6.2% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

5.8% (2017 est.)

7.6% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.029 billion (2019 est.)

$8.561 billion (2018 est.)

$8.307 billion (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 167

GDP (official exchange rate)

$2.405 billion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$11,832 (2019 est.)

$11,348 (2018 est.)

$11,142 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 134

Gross national saving

19.2% of GDP (2019 est.)

21.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

27.9% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 113

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 16.2% (2017 est.)

industry: 41.8% (2017 est.)

services: 42% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 58% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 16.8% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 47.2% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 0% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 26% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -48% (2017 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 66 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 86.4 (2020)

Trading score: 94.2 (2020)

Enforcement score: 70 (2020)

Agricultural products

milk, rice, maize, potatoes, roots/tubers, oranges, areca nuts, chillies/peppers, spices, ginger

Industries

cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism

Industrial production growth rate

6.3% (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 36

Labor force

397,900 (2017 est.)

note: major shortage of skilled labor

country comparison to the world: 159

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 58%

industry: 20%

services: 22% (2015 est.)

Unemployment rate

3.2% (2017 est.)

3.2% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 45

Population below poverty line

8.2% (2017 est.)

Gini Index coefficient - distribution of family income

37.4 (2017 est.)

38.1 (2007)

country comparison to the world: 81

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.8%

highest 10%: 30.6% (2012)

Budget

revenues: 655.3 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 737.4 million (2017 est.)

note: the Government of India finances nearly one-quarter of Bhutan's budget expenditures

Taxes and other revenues

27.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 101

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.4% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 142

Public debt

106.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

114.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 12

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Current account balance

-$547 million (2017 est.)

-$621 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 123

Exports

$554.6 million (2017 est.)

$495.3 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 173

Exports - partners

India 94% (2019)

Exports - commodities

iron alloys, dolomite, refined iron, cement, silicon carbides (2019)

Imports

$1.025 billion (2017 est.)

$1.03 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 186

Imports - partners

India 85%, Thailand 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, iron products, delivery trucks, cars, wood charcoal (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.206 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$1.127 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 129

Debt - external

$2.671 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$2.355 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 147

Exchange rates

ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar -

64.97 (2017 est.)

67.2 (2016 est.)

67.2 (2015 est.)

64.15 (2014 est.)

61.03 (2013 est.)

NOTE: The information regarding Bhutan on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Bhutan 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Bhutan 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.