Economy overview: The Icelandic economy, like all Scandinavian economies, is fundamentally capitalist, but it has a well-developed welfare system, low unemployment, and extremely even income distribution. In the absence of other natural resources (excluding the rich potential of hydrothermal and geothermal energy), the economy is heavily dependent on the fishing industry, which provides 70% of export earnings; it employs 12% of the workforce. The Icelandic economy is dependent on fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum and ferrosilicon. The centre-right government plans to reduce the budget deficit and trade balance, limit external debt, reduce inflation, review policies in agriculture and the fishing industry, diversification of the economy and privatization of the public sector. The government opposes Iceland’s accession to the EU, mainly because Icelanders are concerned about the possibility of losing control over their fish resources. In the last decade, the Icelandic economy has been reoriented towards the development of the manufacturing and service industries, as well as the production of software, biotechnology and the development of the financial sector. Tourism is also expanding, with a recent focus on eco-tourism and excursions to whale habitats. Growth in recent years is stable and amounts to 3-5% per year. See cheeroutdoor.com to know more about Iceland Business.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $6.85 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: 4.3% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $24,800 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 15% (including 13% in fisheries); industry: 21%; services: 64% (1999 est.).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; by top 10% of households: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 3.5% (2000 est.).
Labor force: 159,000 people (2000).
Employment structure: manufacturing industry 12.9%, fishing and fish processing 11.8%, construction 10.7%, various service industries 59.5%, agriculture 5.1% (1999).
Unemployment rate: 2.7% (January 2001).
Budget: revenues: $3.5 billion; expenses: $3.3 billion, including capital investments – $467 million (1999).
Spheres of economy: fish processing; aluminum smelting, ferrosilicon production, geothermal energy generation; tourism.
Growth in industrial production: 1.5% (2000 est.).
Electricity generation: 7.069 billion kWh (1999)
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 0.07%; hydropower: 84.64%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 15.29% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 6.574 billion kWh (1997)
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1997).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1997).
Agricultural products: potatoes, turnips; cattle, sheep; fish.
Export: $2 billion (free on board, 2000)
Export items: fish and fish products 70%, livestock products, aluminum, diatomite and ferrosilicon.
Export partners: EU 64% (UK 20%, Germany 13%, France 5%, Denmark 5%), US 15%, Japan 5% (1999).
Imports: $2.2 billion (free on board, 2000)
Import articles: machinery and equipment, oil products; food products, textiles.
Import partners: EU 56% (Germany 12%, UK 9%, Denmark 8%, Sweden 6%), US 11%, Norway 10% (1999).
External debt: $2.6 billion (1999) Recipient of economic assistance: no data.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Icelandic krone.
Currency code: ISK.
Exchange rate: ISK/USD – 84.810 (January 2001), 78.676 (2000), 72.352 (1999), 70.958 (1998), 70.904 (1997), 66.500 (1996).
Fiscal year: calendar year.
Telecommunications Telephone lines: 168,000 (1997).
Mobile cellular telephones: 65,746 (1997).
Telephone system: satisfactory intercom; internal: trunk network consisting of coaxial and fiber optic cables and microwave radio relay lines; international: satellite ground stations – 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 In-Marsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note – Iceland owns the Inmarsat ground station jointly with other Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland).
Broadcasting stations: AM – 3, FM – about 70 (including repeaters), shortwave – 1 (1998).
Radio receivers: 260,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 14 (and 156 low power repeaters) (1997).
TVs: 98,000 (1997).
Internet country code: is
Internet service providers: 7 (2000).
Number of users: 144,000 (2000).
Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total: 12,691 km; coated: 3,262 km; unpaved: 9,429 km (1999)
Ports and harbours: Akureyri, Vestmannaeyjar, Isafjordur, Keflavik, Reyvarhöbn, Reykjavik, Seydisfjordur, Straumsvik, Hornafjordur.
Merchant fleet: total: 2 vessels (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 3,435 gross register tons / 4,538 long tons of gross tonnage; ships of various types: chemical tankers 1, oil tankers 1 (2000 est.)
Airports: 87 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 12; over 3,047 m: 1; from 1524 to 2437 m:4; 914 to 1523 m: 7 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 75; from 1524 to 2437 m:3; from 914 to 1523 m:20; less than 914 m: 52 (2000 est.).
Branches of the armed forces: no regular armed forces; police, coast guard.
Total military manpower: men 15 to 49: 71,241 (2001 est.).
Eligible for military service: males aged 15 to 49: 62,704 (2001 est.).
Number of persons annually reaching military age:
Military spending in dollar terms: none.
Military spending as part of GDP:
International issues International disputes: dispute over the Rockall continental shelf with Denmark and the UK (Ireland and the UK signed a boundary agreement over the Rockall area); a dispute with Denmark over a fishery center line between Iceland and the Faroe Islands; dispute with Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland over the continental shelf of the Faroe Islands outside the two hundred mile zone.