After the quake: Nepal economy by the numbers
Nepal may be most known for having Mount Everest, but a devastating 7.8magnitude earthquake has ravaged the nation and the death toll is now reported to be nearing 4,000. This quake was strong enough that it destroyed many buildings, and aftershocks have left many fearing to go back into buildings. The destruction is almost certain to severely hamper what is already a weak local economy.
The CIA World Factbook calls Nepal one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world. About one-fourth of the population is said to be live below the poverty line.
Population is 30,986,975. Some 31.6% is aged 14 and younger, with 22.6% being ages 15 to 24, and another 35.7% aged 25 to 54 years old. Only 5.6% of the population is 55 to 64 years old, and only 4.5% is age 65 or older. This population ranks as number 42 in the world. Its labour force is roughly 14.76 mln, with a severe lack of skilled labour.
Gross domestic product (GDP), under the purchasing power parity calculation, was shown by the CIA World Factbook as $66.92 bln in 2014 (97 in the world). That would compare to estimates of $63.44 bln in 2013, and $61.09 bln in 2012. Per capita GDP is very low, at $2,400 in 2014 (ranking 197 in the world).
Inflation has been an issue in Nepal, but perhaps getting better — at 8.4% in 2014, after 10.2% in 2013. The market value of its publicly traded shares was listed as being only $9.67 bln as of October 31, 2014. That compared to $5.81 bln in the same time in 2013 and to $5.23 bln in 2010.
Imports and exports are out of line. Exports were estimated at $1.12 bln in 2014, up from $991.5 mln in 2013. Imports were $7.28 bln in 2014 and $6.5 bln in 2013. Nepal’s export partners are India (53.7%), United States (9.2%), China (4.9%), Germany (4.2%) and Bangladesh (4.2%). Nepal’s import partners are India (50.6%) and China (35.0%).
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold were estimated at $5.44 bln as of the end of 2013 and $4.43 bln as of the end of 2012. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, which supports over 70% of the population but accounts for a little over one-third of GDP. Industrial activity is focused on the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco and grain.
Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower, with an estimated 42,000 MW of commercially feasible capacity, but political uncertainty and a difficult business climate have hampered foreign investment. Additional challenges include its landlocked geographic location, persistent power shortages, underdeveloped transportation, civil strife and labour unrest.