The economy of Saint Kitts and 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 revitalize 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 Saint 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 $445 million in damages and limited GDP growth for the year.
The economy of St. Kitts and Nevis experienced strong growth for most of the 1990s but hurricanes in 1998 and 1999 contributed to a sharp slowdown. Real economic growth was 0.75% in 2002 after a decline of 4.3% in 2001. The economy experienced a mixed performance during 2002, with some sectors experiencing positive growth while others experienced varying levels of decline. The construction sector recorded a 4.51% decline, manufacturing and hotels and restaurants also recorded significant declines of 4.01 and 9.89% respectively, and sugar production fell by 5.1%. Significant new investment in tourism, including a 648-room Marriott hotel and convention center that opened in December 2002, as well as continued government efforts to diversify the economy, are expected to improve economic performance. Consumer prices have risen marginally over the past few years. The inflation rate was 3%-4% for most of the 1990s.
St. Kitts and Nevis is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) issues a common currency (the East Caribbean dollar) for all members of the ECCU. The ECCB also manages monetary policy, and regulates and supervises commercial banking activities in its member countries. There is an extensive parallel economy denominated in US$, which is the de facto currency for many business transactions.
St. Kitts is a member of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications (ECTEL) authority, which is developing the regulations to liberalize the telecommunications sector in the region by 2004.
|Economy of Saint Kitts and Nevis|
|Currency||East Caribbean dollar (XCD) (2.7 per US$ fixed rate since 1976)|
|1 January – 31 December|
|GDP||PPP: $895 million|
Rank: 176th (2009)
|6% (2007 est.)|
GDP per capita
GDP by sector
|agriculture (3.5%), industry (25.8%), services (70.7%) (2001 est.)|
|8.7% (2005 est.)|
Population below poverty line
|all but 5%|
|18,172 (1995 est.)|
|tourism, cotton, salt, copra, clothing, footwear, beverages, light manufacturing, component assembly for export|
|Exports||$42 million (1998)|
|Machinery, foodstuff, electronics, beverages, tobacco.|
Main export partners
| United States 56% |
Bangladesh 6.2% (2012)
Philippines 3.8% (2012)
|Imports||$383 million (2006)|
|Machinery, manufactures items, foodstuff, fuels.|
Main import partners
| United States 31.7% |
Trinidad and Tobago 19.9%
Italy 7% (2012)
Israel 4.9% (2012)
Gross external debt
|$314 million (2004)|
|Economic aid||$3.52 million (recipient; 2005)|
see CIA factbook for latest data
Of the islands' total land area, about 39% is devoted to crops. The principal agricultural product of St. Kitts is sugarcane; peanuts are now the second crop. On Nevis, sea island cotton and coconuts are the major commodities. Sweet potatoes, onions, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, and breadfruit are grown for local consumption on both islands, mostly by individual smallholders. In 2001, agricultural products accounted for about 18.5% of total imports by value and 11.2% of exports; the government has embarked on a program to substitute for food imports.
Sugar estate lands were nationalized in 1975, and the sugar factory was purchased by the government the following year. The output of raw sugar slumped between 1986 and 1989, and as a result the government entered into a management agreement with Booke and Tate of Great Britain in August 1991; a World Bank loan of US$1.9 million was utilized to provide financial stability. Sugar production in 1999 was estimated at 197,000 tons. Faced with a sugar industry that was finding it increasingly difficult to earn a profit, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis embarked on a program to diversify the agricultural sector and stimulate the development of other sectors of the economy, particularly tourism. In July 2005, sugar production ceased.
Pasture areas are small, covering some 2.7% of the islands. Pangola and Bermuda grasses provide the bulk of the fodder. Estimates of livestock in 2001 were sheep, 14,000; goats, 14,400; cattle, 4,300 head; and pigs, 4,000.
Fishing is a traditional occupation that has not expanded to any great extent; the catch in 2000 was 257 tons (down from 620 tons in 1990). Some exports (primarily lobsters) are made to the Netherlands Antilles and Puerto Rico; fisheries exports totaled US$245,000 in 2000. Fish is caught by traditional methods such as beach-seining, pot and trap fishing & hand-lining. The catch is not enough to satisfy local demand for fish. Large quantities of dried, salted and smoked fish, as well as frozen are imported from Canada and USA.
Both islands have small stands of virgin tropical forest, with palms, poincianas, and palmettos. About 11% of the land area consists of forests. Imports of forest products nearly reached US$1.8 million in 2000.
The mining sector played a minor role in St. Kitts and Nevis. No commercially valuable mineral deposits have been found on Saint Kitts. Hence mining and quarrying activities are limited to earthen materials. Presently, there is only one quarry on St. Kitts and there are quarries on Nevis. Raking of salt, the country's fourth-leading industry, was done from time to time. Local quarrying of some materials was used to supplement the construction industry. In 2000, output for sand and gravel was 214,700 tons, up from 50,389 in 1996; crushed stone output was 121,226 tons.
Industry accounted for 26% of GDP in 2001. The principal manufacturing plant and largest industrial employer is the St. Kitts Sugar Manufacturing Corp., a government enterprise; it grinds and processes sugarcane for export. A brewery on St. Kitts makes beer for local consumption, and cotton is ginned and baled on Nevis. Electronic plants produce switches, calculators, car radios, and pocket radios. Other industries are clothing and shoe manufacturing. These provide a much-needed alternative to agricultural employment, particularly for women.
The manufacturing suffered a decline in 1998 due to Hurricane Georges. As a result of diversification and expansion, St. Kitts and Nevis has transformed small electronics plants into the largest electronics assembly industry in the Eastern Caribbean. Its apparel assembly industry has also become very successful in recent years. Garment manufacturing has expanded since the mid-1990s and now accounts for a large share of export earnings. Upgrading the Port Zante harbor complex in Basseterre enables large container ships to call, further enhancing St. Kitts' attractiveness as an offshore manufacturing base. Manufactured exports were valued at US$20 million in 1998 and 1999, suggesting that this sector was the least affected by hurricane damage.
There were four major industrial sites in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2000: C. A. Paul Southwell Industrial Park, Bourkes Industrial Estate, Canada Industrial Estate, and Prospect Industrial Estate. Port Zante is the main seaport.
This sector was badly hit by the effects of the hurricanes in 1998 and 1999. The country had just started to rebuild after Georges in 1998 when Lenny created substantial damage in 1999. The Port Zante complex, where the pier and terminal buildings are located, suffered serious damage. In Nevis, the only large hotel was forced to close for 6 months, resulting in lay-offs of staff (although many were employed to re-landscape devastated gardens) and decreased government revenue. Overall visitor arrivals, both of those staying over and those on cruise ship calls, fell about 15 percent in 1999, with a resulting decrease in visitor expenditure from the 1998 figure of US$75.7 million.
A unique point of interest is that the island of St. Kitts possesses the only remaining active railway in the West Indies. This was built to move sugar cane around, and part of the railway remains in use for tourist tours.
St. Kitts is also home to Brimstone Hill Fortress, a UNESCO world heritage site
GDP: purchasing power parity - $726 million (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 6% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,200 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 3.5% industry: 25.8% services: 70.7%(2001)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 8.7% (2005 est.)
Labor force: 18,172 (June 1995)
Unemployment rate: 4.5% (1997)
Budget: revenues: $64.1 million
expenditures: $73.3 million, including capital expenditures of $10.4 million (1997 est.)
Electricity - production: 125 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 100% hydro: 0% nuclear: 0% other: 0% (1998)
Electricity - consumption: 116.3 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2005)
Exports: $42 million (1998)
Exports - partners: US 61.9%, Canada 9.4%, Netherlands 6.6%, Azerbaijan 5% (2006)
Imports: $383 million (2006)
Imports - commodities: machinery, manufactures, food, fuels
Imports - partners: US 49.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 13.3%, UK 4.5% (2006)
Debt - external: $314 million (2004)
Economic aid - recipient: $3.52 million (2005)
Exchange rates: East Caribbean dollars per US dollar - 2.7 (2007), 2.7 (2006), 2.7 (2005), 2.7 (2004), 2.7 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) is the central bank for the Eastern Caribbean dollar and is the monetary authority for the members of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), with the exception of the British Virgin Islands and Martinique. Two of its core mandates are to maintain price and financial sector stability, by acting as a stabilizer and safe-guard of the banking system in the Eastern Caribbean Economic and Currency Union (OECS/ECCU.) It was founded in October 1983 with the goal of maintaining the stability and integrity of the subregion's currency and banking system in order to facilitate the balanced growth and development of its member states.
The bank is headquartered in Basseterre, St. Kitts, and is currently overseen by Mr. Timothy Antoine, the Bank Governor. Prior to assuming his post in February 2016, the bank was overseen by the late Sir K. Dwight Venner. In early 2015, the bank announced plans to phase out the production of the 1 and 2 cent pieces. The date was finalised as July 1, 2015. When a motive was sought, it was stated that it takes about six cents to make one cent pieces and about eight cents to make a 2 cent piece.Index of Saint Kitts and Nevis-related articles
The following is an alphabetical list of topics related to the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.List of Saint Kitts and Nevis billionaires by net worth
This is a list of Saint Kitts and Nevis billionaires based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine in 2017.List of companies of Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis is a two-island country in the West Indies. Located in the Leeward Islands chain of the Lesser Antilles, it is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas, in both area and population. The country is a Commonwealth realm, with the British monarch (currently queen Elizabeth II) as head of state.
The country's economy is characterised by its dominant tourism, agriculture and light manufacturing industries. Sugar was the primary export from the 1940s on, but rising production costs, low world market prices, and the government's efforts to reduce dependence on it have led to a growing diversification of the agricultural sector. In 2005, the government decided to close down the state-owned sugar company, which had experienced losses and was a significant contributor to the fiscal deficit.Nevisian dollar
The dollar was the currency of Nevis until 1830. The currency consisted of counterstamped Spanish and French colonial coins. The dollar was subdivided into 72 black dogs, each of 1½ pence. Around 1801, coins were issued for 1, 4, 6, 7 and 9 black dogs with the word "Nevis" and the denomination stamped on them. The 1 black dog coins were countermarked on French Guianan 2 sous, whilst the 9 black dogs were made from Spanish colonial 1 real coins. In 1830, sterling was established as the official currency of the island.
Since 1935, dollars have once more circulated on Nevis, first the British West Indies dollar, then the East Caribbean dollar.Outline of Saint Kitts and Nevis
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Saint Kitts and Nevis:
The Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, also known as Saint Christopher and Nevis, is a sovereign federal two-island nation located in the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean Sea. It is the smallest nation in the Americas, in both area and population.
The capital city and headquarters of government for the federated state is on the larger island of Saint Kitts. The smaller state of Nevis lies about 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Saint Kitts, across a shallow channel called "The Narrows".
Historically, the British dependency of Anguilla was also a part of this union, which was then known collectively as Saint Christopher-Nevis-Anguilla.
Saint Kitts and Nevis are geographically part of the Leeward Islands. To the north-northwest lie the islands of Sint Eustatius, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint-Martin/Sint Maarten. To the east and northeast are Antigua and Barbuda, and to the southeast is the small uninhabited island of Redonda, and the island of Montserrat, which currently has an active volcano (see Soufrière Hills.)
Saint Kitts and Nevis were amongst the first islands in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Saint Kitts was home to the first British and French colonies in the Caribbean.
Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest nation on Earth to ever host a World Cup event; it was one of the host venues of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.Saint Kitts dollar
The history of currency in the British colony of St. Kitts closely follows that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories in general. Even though Queen Anne's proclamation of 1704 brought the gold standard to the West Indies, silver pieces of eight (Spanish dollars and later Mexican dollars) continued to form a major portion of the circulating currency right into the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Britain adopted the gold standard in 1821 and an imperial order-in-council of 1838 resulted in St. Kitts formally adopting the sterling currency in the year 1849 (and Nevis in 1858). However, despite the circulation of British coins in St. Kitts, the silver pieces of eight continued to circulate alongside them and the private sector continued to use dollar accounts for reckoning. The international silver crisis of 1873 signalled the end of the silver dollar era in the West Indies and silver dollars were demonetized in St. Kitts in the wake of that crisis. This left a state of affairs, in which the British coinage circulated, being reckoned in dollar accounts at an automatic conversion rate of 1 dollar = 4 shillings 2 pence.
From 1949, with the introduction of the British West Indies dollar, the currency of St. Kitts became officially tied up with that of the British Eastern Caribbean territories in general. The British sterling coinage was eventually replaced by a new decimal coinage in 1955, with the new cent being equal to one half of the old penny.Spooner's Estate
Spooner's Estate is a historical cotton and sugar plantation site on Saint Kitts island of Saint Kitts and Nevis, in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean.
Its site is located near the southern entrance to the town of Cayon in Saint Mary Cayon Parish. The estate is noted as being one of the finest examples of agro-industrial history on Saint Kitts, and contains the only surviving cotton ginnery on the island.
Economy of the Americas