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Economy of the Marshall Islands

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The government of the Marshall Islands is the largest employer, employing 30.6% of the
work force, down by 3.4% since 1988. GDP is derived mainly from payments made by
the United States under the terms of the amended Compact of Free Association. Direct
U.S. aid accounted for 60% of the Marshall Islands' $90 million budget. The economy
combines a small subsistence sector and a modern urban sector.


1 Subsistence economy
2 Modern economy
3 Coconut oil
4 Gross domestic product
5 Marshall Island productivity
6 See also
7 External links
8 References

Subsistence economy
The subsistence economy consists of fishing and breadfruit, banana, taro, and pandanus
cultivation. On the outer islands, production of copra and handicrafts income provide
cash income. The modern service-oriented economy is located in Majuro and Ebeye. It is
sustained by government expenditures and the U.S. Army installation at Kwajalein Atoll.
The airfield there also serves as a second national hub for international flights.

Modern economy
The modern sector consists of wholesale and retail trade; restaurants; banking and
insurance; construction, repair, and professional services; and copra processing. Copra
cake and oil are by far the nation's largest exports. A tuna loining plant employs 300
workers, mostly women, at $1.50 per hour. Copra production, the most important single
commercial activity for the past 100 years, now depends on government subsidies. The
subsidies, more a social policy than an economic strategy, help reduce migration from
outer atolls to densely populated Majuro and Ebeye.

Marine resources, including fishing, aquaculture, tourism development, and agriculture,

are top government development priorities. The Marshall Islands sells fishing rights to
other nations as a source of income. In recent years, the Marshall Islands has begun to
offer ship registrations under the Marshall Islands flag. As a small nation, the Marshall
Islands must import a wide variety of goods, including foodstuffs, consumer goods,
machinery, and petroleum products.

Coconut oil
On September 15, 2007, Witon Barry, of the Tobolar Copra processing plant in Majuro,
Marshall Islands announced that power authorities, private companies and entrepreneurs
were experimenting with coconut oil as an alternative to diesel fuel for vehicles, power
generators and ships. Coconut trees abound in the Pacific's tropical islands. Copra, from 6
to 10 coconuts makes 1 litre oil.[1]

Gross domestic product

GDP: purchasing power parity - $150 million (2011 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 3% (2011 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $2 500 (2011 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 22%
industry: 18%
services: 60% (2008)

Marshall Island productivity

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (2007)

Labor force: NA

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 48%, industry 12%, services 40% (2008)

Unemployment rate: 8% (2011 est.)

revenues: $169.5 million
expenditures: $112.1 million, including capital expenditures of $19.5 million (FY08/09
Industries: copra, fish, tourism, craft items from shell, wood, and pearls, offshore
banking (embryonic)

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Electricity - production: 114 GWh (2008)

Electricity - production by source:

fossil fuel: NA%
hydro: NA%
nuclear: NA%
other: NA%

Electricity - consumption: 57 GWh (1994)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1994)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1994)

Agriculture - products: coconuts, cacao, taro, breadfruit, fruits; pigs, chickens

Exports: $132 million (f.o.b., 2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: fish, coconut oil, trochus shells

Exports - partners: United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand

Imports: $125 million (f.o.b., 2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: foodstuffs, machinery and equipment, fuels, beverages and


Imports - partners: United States, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Singapore

Debt - external: $68 million (2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: approximately $40 million annually from the US

Currency: 1 United States dollar (US$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: US currency is used

Fiscal year: 1 October - 30 September

Marshall Islands: Economy

Latest growth estimate for Marshall Islands is 0.5% in FY2015, reversing estimate of a
0.5% decline.
Marshall Islands economy forecast to grow by 1.5% in 2016 and 2.0% in 2017.

The latest estimates suggest that growth in the Marshall Islands was a modest
0.5% in Fiscal Year 2015, reversing an earlier estimate showing a decline of
0.5%. Stimulus from fishery and agriculture performance that exceeded forecasts
and the renewed consideration of compact-related infrastructure projects
accounted for the upward revision. Growth in the gross domestic product is
forecast to improve in FY2016 and FY2017, as projected earlier, with the
expected implementation of infrastructure projects funded by compact
infrastructure grants and development partner assistance. Read more from Asian
Development Outlook 2016 Update

Created with Highcharts 4.1.9GDP Growth: Marshall Islands% per year1.31.31.34442.12.12.1-1-

1- GDP Growth: 2.1

Economic forecasts for Pacific countries

GDP growth

(%, year)


(%, year)

Current account balance

(% of GDP)
Country 2016 2017

Cook Islands 4.2 4.0

Fiji 2.4 4.5

Kiribati 1.8 1.5

Marshall Islands 1.5 2.0

Micronesia, Federated States of 2.0 2.5

Nauru 3.0 15.0

Palau 2.0 5.0

Papua New Guinea 2.2 3.0

Samoa 5.0 2.0

Solomon Islands 2.7 2.5

Timor-Leste 5.0 5.5

Tonga 3.1 2.6

Tuvalu 3.0 3.0

Vanuatu 3.5 3.8

Average 2.7 3.5

Country 2016 2017

Cook Islands 0.7 2.0

Fiji 3.5 3.0

Kiribati 0.7 2.0

Marshall Islands -0.3 1.5

Micronesia, Federated States of -0.3 1.5

Nauru 6.6 1.7

Palau 1.5 2.5

Papua New Guinea 6.5 7.5

Samoa 0.1 2.0

Solomon Islands 3.3 4.5

Timor-Leste 1.2 3.0

Tonga 2.0 1.9

Tuvalu 2.0 2.0

Vanuatu 1.9 2.4

Average 4.7 5.5

Country 2016 2017

Cook Islands 37.3 41.3

Fiji -7.0 -1.2

Kiribati -7.0 -2.6

Marshall Islands 10.0 8.9

Micronesia, Federated States of 3.8 2.0

Nauru ... ...

Palau -2.3 -1.3

Papua New Guinea 7.9 9.0

Samoa -3.9 -5.3

Solomon Islands -4.4 -6.1

Timor-Leste 36.1 10.2

Tonga -6.0 -7.6

Tuvalu -1.2 -18.7

Vanuatu -15.0 -13.5

Average 7.2 5.8

= no data available.

Source: Asian Development Outlook 2016 Update