About Iceland and Key Financial Statistics

About Iceland and Key Financial Statistics

Overview of Economy:

Iceland's Scandinavian-type social-market economy combines a capitalist structure and free-market principles with an extensive welfare system. Prior to the 2008 crisis, Iceland had achieved high growth, low unemployment, and a remarkably even distribution of income. The economy depends heavily on the fishing industry, which provides 40% of export earnings, more than 12% of GDP, and employs nearly 5% of the work force. It remains sensitive to declining fish stocks as well as to fluctuations in world prices for its main exports: fish and fish products, aluminum, and ferrosilicon. Iceland's economy has been diversifying into manufacturing and service industries in the last decade, particularly within the fields of software production, biotechnology, and tourism. In fall 2013, the Icelandic government approved a joint application by Icelandic, Chinese and Norwegian energy firms to conduct oil exploration off Iceland’s northeast coast. Abundant geothermal and hydropower sources have attracted substantial foreign investment in the aluminum sector, boosted economic growth, and sparked some interest from high-tech firms looking to establish data centers using cheap green energy, although the financial crisis has put several investment projects on hold. Much of Iceland's economic growth in recent years came as the result of a boom in domestic demand, following the rapid expansion of the country's financial sector. Domestic banks expanded aggressively in foreign markets, and consumers and businesses borrowed heavily in foreign currencies, following the privatization of the banking sector in the early 2000s. Worsening global financial conditions throughout 2008 resulted in a sharp depreciation of the krona vis-a-vis other major currencies. The foreign exposure of Icelandic banks, whose loans and other assets totaled more than 10 times the country's GDP, became unsustainable. Iceland's three largest banks collapsed in late 2008. The country secured over $10 billion in loans from the IMF and other countries to stabilize its currency and financial sector, and to back government guarantees for foreign deposits in Icelandic banks. GDP fell 6.8% in 2009, and unemployment peaked at 9.4% in February 2009. Since the collapse of Iceland's financial sector, government economic priorities have included: stabilizing the krona, implementing capital controls, reducing Iceland's high budget deficit, containing inflation, addressing high household debt, restructuring the financial sector, and diversifying the economy. Three new banks were established to take over the domestic assets of the collapsed banks. Two of them have foreign majority ownership, while the State holds a majority of the shares of the third. Iceland began making payments to the UK, the Netherlands, and other claimants in late 2011 following Iceland's Supreme Court ruling that upheld 2008 emergency legislation that gives priority to depositors for compensation from failed Icelandic banks. British and Dutch authorities claim Iceland owes approximately $6.5 billion for compensating British and Dutch citizens who lost deposits in Icesave savings accounts when parent bank Landsbanki failed in 2008. Iceland’s financial woes prompted an initial increase in public support to join the EU and the Eurozone, with accession negotiations beginning in July 2010. However, the election of a new center-right government and declining public support amidst the ongoing Eurozone crisis led to the suspension of negotiations in mid-2013.

Gross Domestic Product (In USD):

$14.34 billion (2014 est.)

$14.08 billion (2013 est.)

$13.55 billion (2012 est.)

Composition of Gross Domestic Product:

% Agricuture: 5.7

% Industry: 21.3

% Services: 73

Composition of Labor Force by Occupation:

% Agriculture: 4.8

% Industry: 22.2

% Services: 73

Per Capita Income:

$44,000 (2014 est.)

$43,200 (2013 est.)

$41,600 (2012 est.)


$4.848 billion (2014 est.)

$4.593 billion (2013 est.)

Key Export Commodities:

fish and fish products 40%, aluminum, animal products, ferrosilicon, diatomite (2010 est.)

Export Partners:

Netherlands 29.2%, UK 11.2%, Spain 7.4%, Germany 6%, France 5%, US 4.9%, Russia 4.9%, Norway 4.5% (2014)


$4.954 billion (2014 est.)

$4.534 billion (2013 est.)

Key Import Commodities:

machinery and equipment, petroleum products, foodstuffs, textiles

Import Partners:

Norway 14.7%, US 10.1%, Germany 7.6%, Denmark 7.6%, China 7.4%, Netherlands 6.6%, UK 6%, Brazil 5.4% (2014)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Price Index):

2% (2014 est.)

3.9% (2013 est.)

Exchange Rate to USD:

Icelandic kronur (ISK) per US dollar -

116.77 (2014 est.)

116.77 (2013 est.)

125.08 (2012 est.)

115.95 (2011 est.)

122.24 (2010 est.)

Unemployment Rate:

3.6% (2014 est.)

4.4% (2013 est.)

S&P Rating:

Standard & Poor's Ratings:

    • AAA: The best quality borrowers, reliable and stable

    • AA: Quality borrowers, a bit higher risk than AAA

    • A: Economic situation can affect finance

    • BBB: Medium class borrowers, which are satisfactory at the moment

    • BB: More prone to changes in the economy

    • B: Financial situation varies noticeably

    • CCC: An obligor rated currently vulnerable, and is dependent upon favorable business, financial, and economic conditions to meet its financial commitments.

Ref 2012-2014: CIA World Factbook, Wikipedia, PWC, EY, Standard & Poors ratings