Kiribati Economy - 2021


SOURCE: 2021 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK

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Economic overview

A 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. Although the number of seafarers employed declined due to changes in global shipping demands, remittances are expected to improve with more overseas temporary and seasonal work opportunities for Kiribati nationals.

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 23% of GDP at the end of 2015 to 25.8% in 2016.

Kiribati is dependent on foreign aid, which was estimated to have contributed over 32.7% in 2016 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 $855.5 million in late July 2016. 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.

Real GDP growth rate

3.1% (2017 est.)

1.1% (2016 est.)

10.3% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 96

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

0.4% (2017 est.)

1.9% (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 40

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$267 million (2019 est.)

$261 million (2018 est.)

$255 million (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 218

GDP (official exchange rate)

$197 million (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,272 (2019 est.)

$2,256 (2018 est.)

$2,237 (2017 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 207

Gross national saving

64.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

68.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 1

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 23% (2016 est.)

industry: 7% (2016 est.)

services: 70% (2016 est.)

Ease of Doing Business Index scores

Overall score: 46.9 (2020)

Starting a Business score: 78.4 (2020)

Trading score: 62.1 (2020)

Enforcement score: 53.4 (2020)

Agricultural products

coconuts, roots/tubers nes, bananas, vegetables, taro, tropical fruit, poultry, pork, nuts, eggs

Industries

fishing, handicrafts

Industrial production growth rate

1.1% (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Labor force

39,000 (2010 est.)

note: economically active, not including subsistence farmers

country comparison to the world: 197

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 15%

industry: 10%

services: 75% (2010)

Unemployment rate

30.6% (2010 est.)

6.1% (2005)

country comparison to the world: 209

Population below poverty line

N/A

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA

highest 10%: NA

Budget

revenues: 151.2 million (2017 est.)

expenditures: 277.5 million (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

76.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 4

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-64.1% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 221

Public debt

26.3% of GDP (2017 est.)

22.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 172

Fiscal year

N/A

Current account balance

$18 million (2017 est.)

$35 million (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Exports

$84.75 million (2013 est.)

$62.31 million (2012 est.)

country comparison to the world: 201

Exports - partners

Thailand 53%, Philippines 17%, South Korea 10%, Japan 9% (2019)

Exports - commodities

fish and fish produces, ships, coconut oil, copra (2019)

Imports

$107.1 million (2016 est.)

$182.2 million (2013 est.)

country comparison to the world: 215

Imports - partners

China 20%, Fiji 19%, Australia 12%, Taiwan 11%, South Korea 11%, New Zealand 7%, Japan 5% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, netting, raw sugar, rice, poultry meats (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$0 (31 December 2017 est.)

$8.37 million (31 December 2010 est.)

country comparison to the world: 192

Debt - external

$40.9 million (2016 est.)

$32.3 million (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 196

Exchange rates

Australian dollars (AUD) per US dollar -

1.31 (2017 est.)

1.34 (2016 est.)

1.34 (2015 est.)

1.33 (2014 est.)

1.11 (2013 est.)

note: the Australian dollar circulates as legal tender

NOTE: The information regarding Kiribati 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 Kiribati 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Kiribati 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.