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Economy of St Kitts & Nevis
 
 
 

General

The economy of St Kitts & Nevis has traditionally depended on the growing and processing of sugar cane; decreasing world prices have hurt the industry in recent years. Tourism, export-oriented manufacturing and offshore banking activity have assumed larger roles. Most food is imported. The government has undertaken a program designed to revitalise the faltering sugar sector. It is also working to improve revenue collection in order to better fund social programs. In 1997, some leaders in Nevis were urging separation from St Kitts on the basis that Nevis was paying far more in taxes than it was receiving in government services, but the vote on cessation failed in August 1998. In late September 1998, Hurricane Georges caused approximately $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.

The economy of St Kitts & Nevis experienced strong growth for most of the 1990s but hurricanes in 1998 and 1999 contributed to a sharp slowdown. Real economic growth was 0.75% in 2002 after a decline of 4.3% in 2001. The economy experienced a mixed performance during 2002, with some sectors experiencing positive growth while others experienced varying levels of decline. The construction sector recorded a 4.51% decline, manufacturing and hotels and restaurants also recorded significant declines of 4.01 and 9.89% respectively, and sugar production fell by 5.1%. Significant new investment in tourism, including a 648-room Marriott hotel and convention centre that opened in December 2002, as well as continued government efforts to diversify the economy, are expected to improve economic performance. Consumer prices have risen marginally over the past few years. The inflation rate was 3-4% for most of the 1990s.

St Kitts & Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries.

St Kitts & Nevis is also a member of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications (ECTEL) authority, which is developing the regulations to liberalise the telecommunications sector in the region by 2004.

Overview

Economy - overview : The economy of St Kitts & Nevis is heavily dependent upon tourism revenues, which has replaced sugar, the traditional mainstay of the economy until the 1970s. Following the 2005 harvest, the government closed the sugar industry after decades of losses of 3-4% of GDP annually. To compensate for employment losses, the government has embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and to stimulate other sectors of the economy, such as tourism, export-oriented manufacturing, and offshore banking. Economic growth was above average for Latin America from 2004 to 2006, but has since slowed. Tourism is projected to give the economy a boost in 2010, as large cruise ships add St Kitts & Nevis to their itineraries. More than 200,000 tourists visited the islands in 2009. Like other tourist destinations in the Caribbean, St Kitts & Nevis is vulnerable to damage from natural disasters and shifts in tourism demand. The current government is constrained by a high public debt burden equivalent to roughly 185% of GDP, largely attributable to public enterprise losses.
GDP (purchasing power parity) : $725.8 million (2009 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate) : $557 million (2009 est.)
GDP - real growth rate : -5.5% (2009 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP) : $14,700 (2009 est.)
GDP - composition by sector : agriculture: 3.5%
industry: 25.8%
services: 70.7% (2001)
Labour force : 18,170 (June 1995)
Unemployment rate : 4.5% (1997)
Population below poverty line : NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share
: lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budget : revenues: $89.7 million
expenditures: $128.2 million (2003 est.)
Public debt : 185% of GDP (2009 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) : 4.5% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate
: 6.5% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate : 8.69% (31 December 2008)
Stock of money : $107.2 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of quasi money : $680.6 million (31 December 2008)
Stock of domestic credit : $790.8 million (31 December 2008)
Market value of publicly traded shares : $595.2 million (31 December 2008)
Agriculture - products : sugarcane, rice, yams, vegetables, bananas; fish
Industries : tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages
Industrial production growth rate : NA%
Electricity - production : 130 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - consumption : 120.9 million kWh (2007 est.)
Electricity - exports : 0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports : 0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production : 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - consumption : 1,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
Oil - exports : 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - imports : 1,225 bbl/day (2007 est.)
Oil - proved reserves : 0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
Natural gas - production : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - consumption : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - exports : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - imports : 0 cu m (2008 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves : 0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
Current account balance : -$163 million (2007 est.)
Exports : $84 million (2006)
Exports - commodities : machinery, food, electronics, beverages, tobacco
Exports - partners : US 62.3%, Canada 7.93%, Azerbaijan 6.72% (2009)
Imports : $383 million (2006)
Imports - commodities : machinery, manufactures, food, fuels
Imports - partners : US 43.37%, Trinidad and Tobago 15.26%, Italy 11.83% (2009)
Debt - external : $314 million (2004)
Exchange rates : East Caribbean dollars (XCD) per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
 

 
 

 



 


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