Economy of Tuvalu

Economy - overview:Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. The country has no known mineral resources and few exports. Subsistence farming and fishing are the primary economic activities. Fewer than 1,000 tourists, on average, visit Tuvalu annually. Government revenues largely come from the sale of stamps and coins and remittances from seamen on merchant ships abroad. About 1,000 Tuvaluans are being repatriated from Nauru, with the decline of phosphate resources there. Substantial income is received annually from an international trust fund established in 1987 by Australia, NZ, and the UK and supported also by Japan and South Korea. Thanks to wise investments and conservative withdrawals, this fund grew from an initial $17 million to over $35 million in 1999. The US Government is also a major revenue source for Tuvalu because of payments from a 1988 treaty on fisheries. In an effort to reduce its dependence on foreign aid, the government is pursuing public sector reforms, including privatization of some government functions and personnel cuts of up to 7%. Tuvalu derives around $1.5 million per year from the lease of its ".tv" Internet domain name. With merchandise exports only a fraction of merchandise imports, continued reliance must be placed on fishing and telecommunications license fees, remittances from overseas workers, official transfers, and income from overseas investments.
GDP (purchasing power parity):$14.94 million (2002 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):$14.94 million (2002)
GDP - real growth rate:1.2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):$1,600 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:agriculture: 16.6%
industry: 27.2%
services: 56.2% (2002)
Labor force:3,615 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:note: people make a living mainly through exploitation of the sea, reefs, and atolls and from wages sent home by those abroad (mostly workers in the phosphate industry and sailors)
Unemployment rate:NA%
Population below poverty line:NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):3.9% (2005 est.)
Budget:revenues: $22.78 million
expenditures: $14.23 million; including capital expenditures of $4.2 million (2002 est.)
Agriculture - products:coconuts; fish
Industries:fishing, tourism, copra
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: NA
hydro: NA
nuclear: NA
other: NA
Current account balance:$2.323 million (1998)
Exports:$1 million f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:copra, fish
Exports - partners:Germany 60.5%, Italy 20.1%, Fiji 6.9% (2006)
Imports:$9.186 million c.i.f. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:food, animals, mineral fuels, machinery, manufactured goods
Imports - partners:Fiji 46.1%, Japan 18.9%, China 18.2%, Australia 7.7%, NZ 4.1% (2006)
Debt - external:$NA
Economic aid - recipient:$13 million; note - major donors are Australia, Japan, and the US (1999 est.)
Currency (code):Australian dollar (AUD); note - there is also a Tuvaluan dollar
Currency code:AUD
Exchange rates:Tuvaluan dollars or Australian dollars per US dollar - 1.3285 (2006), 1.3095 (2005), 1.3598 (2004), 1.5419 (2003), 1.8406 (2002)
Fiscal year:calendar year

Tuvalu Quickstats

  • Population: 11,992 (July 2007 est.)
  • Area: 26 sq km
  • Density: 441 /km² (22nd)
  • GDP (total): $12.2 million (228th)
  • GDP (per capita): $1,100 (2000 estimate) (unranked)
  • Literacy:

Languages of Tuvalu

Useful to know

  • Currency: Tuvaluan dollar Australian dollar (AUD)
  • Dial code: +688

International Trade

External sites

More Resources

Tuvalu Internet

  • Usage: 1,300
  • Penetration: 13.3 %
  • Top Domain: .tv

WT eBusiness info:

  • Success Ranking: 100
  • Market testing: Untested
  • Overall risk: High
  • Overall reward: Low


  • Tourism: 10%
  • eCommerce: 10%
  • Gaming: 10%
  • eLearning: 10%

Recent blog posts