The Economy of Bhutan

The Economy of Bhutan

Bhutanese Economy

Economy - overview: The economy, one of the world's smallest and least developed, is based on agriculture and forestry, which provide the main livelihood for more than 60% of the population. Agriculture consists largely of subsistence farming and animal husbandry. Rugged mountains dominate the terrain and make the building of roads and other infrastructure difficult and expensive. The economy is closely aligned with India's through strong trade and monetary links and dependence on India's financial assistance. The industrial sector is technologically backward, with most production of the cottage industry type. Most development projects, such as road construction, rely on Indian migrant labor. Model education, social, and environment programs are underway with support from multilateral development organizations. Each economic program takes into account the government's desire to protect the country's environment and cultural traditions. For example, the government, in its cautious expansion of the tourist sector, encourages visits by upscale, environmentally conscientious tourists. Detailed controls and uncertain policies in areas such as industrial licensing, trade, labor, and finance continue to hamper foreign investment. Hydropower exports to India have boosted Bhutan's GDP growth. New hydropower projects will be the driving force behind Bhutan's ability to create employment and sustain growth in the coming years.


GDP - real growth rate: 6.6% (2008 est.) 17% (2007 est.) 7.8% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 22.3% industry: 37.9% services: 39.8% (2006)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: NA note: major shortage of skilled labor

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 63% industry: 6% services: 31% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.5% (2004)

Budget: revenues: $272 million expenditures: $350 million note: the government of India finances nearly three-fifths of Bhutan's budget expenditures (2005)

Industries: cement, wood products, processed fruits, alcoholic beverages, calcium carbide, tourism

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production: 4.475 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 528.8 million kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - exports: 3.644 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 11 million kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 0 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 1,250 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 0 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - imports: 1,152 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Agriculture - products: rice, corn, root crops, citrus, foodgrains; dairy products, eggs

Exports: $350 million f.o.b. (2006)

Exports - commodities: electricity (to India), cardamom, gypsum, timber, handicrafts, cement, fruit, precious stones, spices

Exports - partners: India 58.6%, Hong Kong 30.1%, Bangladesh 7.3% (2007)

Imports: $320 million c.i.f. (2006)

Imports - commodities: fuel and lubricants, grain, aircraft, machinery and parts, vehicles, fabrics, rice

Imports - partners: India 74.5%, Japan 7.4%, Sweden 3.2% (2007)

Debt - external: $713.3 million (2006)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: ngultrum (BTN) per US dollar - 41.487 (2007), 45.279 (2006), 44.101 (2005), 45.317 (2004), 46.583 (2003) note: the ngultrum is pegged to the Indian rupee

Fiscal year:

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