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Economic activity

Current trends in the Greenlandic economy

Economic growth in Greenland was positive in 2015, following three years of contraction. Nevertheless, there was considerable emigration so that the population declined further in spite of an excess of births. Greenland has benefited from rising prices for fish and shellfish. Catch volumes declined, but price developments meant that earnings were good in large parts of the fisheries sector, and revenue from direct taxes increased. Combined with lower-than-planned expenditure this meant that a government deficit envisaged in the Finance Act made way for a small surplus. The liquidity of the government is good, and gross debt is modest, constituting less than 5 per cent of the gross domestic product, GDP. Activities in connection with extraction of and exploration for raw materials have diminished considerably. Two small projects will start extracting minerals in 2016 and 2017. Investment in building and construction increased in 2015 and further growth is expected in 2016. At the same time, statistics indicate that private consumption is rising strongly. Together with larger quotas for especially prawns, this will result in higher economic growth in 2016 than for many years. But no solution has been found to the major structural problems in Greenland, i.e. the very narrow business sector.