A unique economy in the Pacific New Caledonia is a unique territory in the Pacific region. With the second highest per capita GDP in the region, it is a prosperous first-world economy that possesses a level of development and infrastructure that would be the envy of most Pacific island nations. CORAL SEA BÉLEP ARCHIPELAGO
he keys to the territory’s prosperity are twofold. Firstly, it continues to have political and economic attachment to OUVÉA France, which comes with a sizeable contribution from the NORTHERN PROVINCE KOUMAC French taxpayer, equal to around 18% of GDP (2011). Secondly, KAALA-GOMÉN the main island of Grand Terre possesses about 25% of the WÉ POINDIMIÉ world’s nickel resources—estimated as amounting to some 300 VOH LIFOU KONÉ TIGA years’ worth of metal ore. POUEMBOUT ‘New Caledonia is a small economy, very dependent on nickel LOYALTY ISLANDS PROVINCE POYA and public money,’ observes Éric Wiard, Director General of BOURAIL NEW CALEDONIA Banque Caledonienne Investissement (BCI), part of the French MARÉ BRED banking group that also has presences in Vanuatu and Fiji. CORAL SEA BOULOUPARIS SOUTHERN PROVINCE New Caledonia has other advantages, too. As a French PAÏTA 0 50 KM DUMBÉA SUR MER territory, it offers other countries in the region a route into the 0 50 MI NOUMÉA European Union, one of the world’s largest trading zones. New Caledonia also has a well-educated workforce. ISLE OF PINES
Recent downturn When world nickel prices are high and French government contributions adequate, such dependence is not a problem. However, when Business Advantage visited the French-speaking territory in the first half of 2014, New Caledonia—following a strong growth period—was going through a temporary slump. This was causing both businesses and government to address efficiencies and productivity.
In recent times, world nickel prices have been relatively low (albeit rallying in the first half of 2014), affecting the profitability of New Caledonia’s nickel sector (see page 12),. At the same time, France’s economic support has been limited. ‘Apart from nickel, which is a non-renewable source of revenue, New Caledonia is going to be confronted by a tough budget situation. French subsidies are frozen, while our needs—
New Caledonia in brief/La Nouvelle-CalEdonie en bref Population 256,000 (2012 estimates) Capital/Capitale Nouméa Area/Superficie 18,576 sq km People/population (as of the 2009 census/d’après le recensement de 2009): Melanesian/Mélanésiens 40.3%, European/Européens 29.2%, Wallis & Futuna Islanders/Originaires des îles Wallis & Futuna 8.7%, Asian/Asiatiques 2.6%, Tahitians/Tahitiens 1.6%, Ni-Vanuatu 0.9%, Others 16.23% Official language/Langue officielle French/Français GDP/PIB €7.104 billion (2011) GDP per capita/PIB par tête €28,214 (or US$39,258) Inflation 0.6% (12 months to September 2013/sur 12 mois jusqu’en septembre 2013) Exchange rate/Taux de change AUD$1.00 = 81.65 French Pacific francs (XPF) Exports/Exportations Ferro-nickels, nickel ore, fish, prawns, agricultural products/ ferronickels, minerai de nickel, poisson, crevettes, produits agricoles Major export markets/Marchés principaux d’exportation France, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Spain, Australia Imports/Importations Machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, foodstuff/ machinerie et équipements, carburants, produit chimiques, denrés alimentaires Major import markets/principaux pays fournisseurs France, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand Distances by air/Temps de vol Brisbane (2 hours/heures), Sydney (2.5 hours/heures), Auckland (2.5 hours/heures), Melbourne (3.5 hours/heures) 4