Economy of Liechtenstein
The factual accuracy of parts of this article (those related to table) may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (November 2010)
|Currency||Swiss franc (CHF)|
|Population||38,748 (1 January 2020, provisional)|
|GDP||$6.215 billion (nominal, 2018)|
|1.8% (real, 2011 est.)|
GDP per capita
GDP by sector
|Agriculture: 7%; industry: 41%; services: 52% (2014)|
|−0.4% (CPI, 2016)|
Population below poverty line
|0.917 very high (2018) (18th)|
|38,520 (2012) (2015 est.), 51% of whom commute daily from Austria, Switzerland, or Germany|
Labour force by occupation
|Agriculture: 0.8%; industry: 39.4%; services: 59.95% (2010)|
|Electronics, metal manufacturing, dental products, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, tourism, optical instruments|
|Exports||$3.76 billion (2011 est.)|
|Small specialty machinery, connectors for audio and video, parts for motor vehicles, dental products, hardware, prepared foodstuffs, electronic equipment, optical products|
Main export partners
|Imports||$2.218 billion (2011 est.)|
|Agricultural products, raw materials, energy products, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles|
Gross external debt
|0% (2001) debt holder of Switzerland, Austria and US|
|Revenues||$1.29 billion (2011 est.)|
|Expenses||$1.372 billion (2011 est.)|
|Standard & Poor's:|
AAA (T&C Assessment)
The economy of Liechtenstein is based roughly equally on services (especially financial services) and industry, with a small but significant agricultural sector. The country participates in a customs union with Switzerland and uses the Swiss franc as its national currency. It imports more than 85% of its energy requirements. Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) since 1991 (previously its interests had been represented by Switzerland). It also has been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) since May 1995 and participates in the Schengen Agreement for passport-free intra-European travel.
Liechtenstein's historical customs union with Austria was dissolved in 1919. A customs treaty was signed in 1923 and since its entering into force in 1924, Liechtenstein and Switzerland have been in a customs union with each other and as such the borders between the two countries are open. The German village Büsingen am Hochrhein and the Italian village Campione d'Italia also form part of this customs union (the latter albeit in a de facto manner), which is often referred to as the Swiss customs area.
Liechtenstein utilizes the Swiss franc as its national currency. Swiss border police and customs officers secure its frontier with Austria. Currently there are 21 Swiss border guards stationed in Liechtenstein and 20 Austrian border guards securing its border (as of 2011).
Liechtenstein is a member of EFTA, and joined the European Economic Area (EEA) in 1995 in order to benefit from the EU internal market. The capitalist economy and tax system make Liechtenstein a safe, trustworthy and success-oriented place for private and business purposes, especially with its highly modern, internationally laid-out infrastructure and close connections to Switzerland.
The Principality of Liechtenstein has gone through economic and cultural development in the last 50 years like no other Western country. In the last half century, Liechtenstein has developed from a mainly agricultural state to one of the most highly industrialized countries in the world.
Besides its efficient industry, there also is a strong services sector. Four out of ten employees work in the services sector, a relatively high proportion of whom are foreigners, including those who commute across the border from neighboring Switzerland, Austria and Germany. Industrial exports more than doubled in 20 years from $1.21 billion (SFr. 2.2 billion) in 1988 to $2.9 billion (SFr. 4.6 billion) in 2008. Some 15.7% of Liechtenstein goods are exported to Switzerland, 62.6% to the EU and 21.1% to the rest of the world.
The United States has been the most important export market for Liechtenstein in recent times, totaling $561 million (SFr. 876 million); Germany is second, with $479 million (SFr. 748 million) worth of imports, and Switzerland third, with $375 million (SFr. 587 million).
About 32% of the country's revenues are invested in research and development, one of the driving forces of the success of Liechtenstein's economy. Total R&D spending in 2000 rose by 20.7% to approximately $140 million (213 million francs).
Banking and finance
The Principality of Liechtenstein also is known as an important financial centre, primarily because it specializes in financial services for foreign entities. The country's low tax rate, loose incorporation and corporate governance rules, and traditions of strict bank secrecy have contributed significantly to the ability of financial intermediaries in Liechtenstein to attract funds from outside the country's borders. The same factors made the country attractive and vulnerable to money launderers, although late 2009 legislation has strengthened regulatory oversight of illicit funds transfers.
Liechtenstein has chartered 17 banks, three non-bank financial companies, and 71 public investment companies, as well as insurance and reinsurance companies. Its 270 licensed fiduciary companies and 81 lawyers serve as nominees for, or manage, more than 73,000 entities (primarily corporations, institutions, or trusts), partly for non-Liechtenstein residents. About one-third of these entities hold the controlling interest in other entities, chartered in countries other than Liechtenstein. The Principality's laws permit the corporations it charters to issue bearer shares. Until recently, the Principality's banking laws permitted banks to issue numbered accounts, but new regulations require strict know-your-customer practices for all new accounts.
Liechtenstein's standard rate of VAT (Mehrwertsteuer) is identical to Switzerland's for it must mirror the latter's continually and is currently 7.7%. The reduced rate is 2.5%. A special rate of 3.7% is in use in the hotel industry.
In July 2015, Liechtenstein and Switzerland signed a new agreement on double taxation, which took effect in December 2016, superseding the previous one from 1995. Some differences on the withholding tax arose, but Switzerland did not agree to introduce this practice to residents of Liechtenstein working in Switzerland.
In November 2016, the parliament of the principality decided with a large majority to introduce an agreement of automatic information exchange with 27 new treaty partners, including Switzerland. Data collection will start in 2018, and effectual exchange of account information is planned for 2019.
- GDP (PPP): $4.826 billion (2009)
- GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2008)
- GDP (PPP) - per capita: purchasing power parity - $141,100 (2008)
- Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.7% (2011)
- Labor force: 35,440 of whom about 10,440 are natives 7,550 are foreigners; 17,450 commute from Austria, Switzerland, and Germany to work each day (2008)
- Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 8%; industry: 41%; services: 51% (31 December 2008)
- Unemployment rate: 1.5% (December 2007)
- Currency: Swiss franc (CHF)
- Exchange rates: Swiss francs per US dollar - 1.3467 (2003), 1.5586 (2002), 1.6876 (2001), 1.6888 (2000), 1.5022 (1999)
- Fiscal year: calendar year
- revenues: $420.8 million
- expenditures: $420.1 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2000 est.)
The principal industries are electronics, metal manufacturing, textiles, ceramics, pharmaceuticals, food products, precision instruments, and tourism.
- Industrial production growth rate: N/A
- production by source
- Electricity - production: 80,105 MWh (2010)
- Electricity - consumption:about 350,645 MWh (2010)
- Electricity - exports: none
- Electricity - imports: about 270,540 MWh (2010)
- Commodities: small specialty machinery, dental products, stamps, hardware, pottery
- Partners: EU 62.6%, Others 21.1%, Germany, the US, the UK, France, Italy, Austria, Taiwan and Japan, Switzerland 15.7% as of (2008)
- Commodities: agricultural products, raw materials, machinery, metal goods, textiles, foodstuffs, motor vehicles
- Partners: member states of the European Union, Switzerland, Germany and the US.
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