Economy of Nepal

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Economy of Nepal
Currency 1 Nepalese rupee (NPR) = 100 paisa
16 July - 15 July
Trade organizations
GDP $27 billion(Nominal) (2018 est.)[1]
GDP growth
4.96% (2018)
GDP per capita
Nominal:989USD(2018) PPP:$2700(2018 est.)
GDP by sector
agriculture (35%), industry (20%), services (45%) (2010 est.)
3.8% (April 2017.)
Population below poverty line
25.2% (2010.)
Main industries
Tourism, garment, food and beverages, metal manufactures, herbs.
107th (2017)[2]
Exports $ 1.2 Billion (2016) f.o.b.; note - does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2013)
Export goods
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain, herbs, tea, coffee, steel, Cement, Business Processing Outsourcing, Software, Information Technology, Furniture, Cardamoms, Cloths etc
Main export partners
 India 61.2%
 United States 9.4% (2015)[3]
Imports $ 7.2billion f.o.b. (2016)
Import goods
Petroleum Products, Gold, Machinery.
Main import partners
 India 61.4%
 China 15.4% (2015)[4]
Public finances
Revenues $ 6 billion (FY 2013)
Expenses $ 7 billion (FY 2013)
Main data source: CIA World Fact Book
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

Economic development in Nepal has been complicated and affected by the constant change in political scenarios which has ranged from monarchy to being ruled by the Communist party in present context. An isolated, agrarian society until the mid-20th century, Nepal entered the modern era in 1951 without schools, hospitals, roads, telecommunications, electric power, industry, or civil service. The country has, however, made progress toward sustainable economic growth since the 1950s and opened the country to economic liberalization leading to economic growth and improvement in living standards than compared to the past. The biggest challenges faced by the country in achieving higher economic development are the frequent changes in political leadership as well as corruption.

Nepal has used a series of five-year plans in an attempt to make progress in economic development. It completed its ninth economic development plan in 2002; its currency has been made convertible, and 17 state enterprises have been privatised. Foreign aid to Nepal accounts for more than half of the development budget. Government priorities over the years have been the development of transportation and communication facilities, agriculture, and industry. Since 1975, improved government administration and rural development efforts have been emphasised.

Agriculture remains Nepal's principal economic activity, employing about 65% of the population and providing 31.7% of GDP. Only about 20% of the total area is cultivable; another 40.7% is forested(i.e.covered by shurbs, pastureland & forest); most of the rest is mountainous. Fruits and vegetables (apples, pears, tomatoes, various salads, peach, nectarine, potatoes), as well as rice and wheat are the main food crops. The lowland Terai region produces an agricultural surplus, part of which supplies the food-deficient hill areas.

GDP is heavily dependent on remittances(29.1%) of foreign workers. Subsequently, economic development in social services and infrastructure in Nepal has not made dramatic progress. A countrywide primary education system is under development, and Tribhuvan University has several campuses. Although eradication efforts continue, malaria had been controlled in the fertile but previously uninhabitable Terai region in the south. Kathmandu is linked to India and nearby hill regions by road and an expanding highway network. The capital was almost out of fuel and transport of supplies caused by a crippling general strike in southern Nepal on 17 February 2008.[5]

Major towns are connected to the capital by telephone and domestic air services. The export-oriented carpet and garment industries have grown rapidly in recent years and together now account for approximately 70% of merchandise exports.

The Cost of Living Index in Nepal is comparatively lower than many countries but not the least. The quality of life has declined to much less desirous value in recent years.[6] Nepal was ranked 54th worst of 81 ranked countries (those with GHI > 5.0) on the Global Hunger Index in 2011, between Cambodia and Togo. Nepal's current score of 19.5 is better than in 2010 (20.0) and much improved than its score of 27.5 in 1990.[7]

Foreign investments and taxation[edit]

Huge numbers of Small Foreign Investments come to Nepal via the Non Resident Nepali, who are investing in shopping malls, plazas, real estate, tourism, etc. Nepal has a huge capacity for hydroelectricity. Accordingly, a large number of foreign companies are in line, but political instability has stopped the process at the same time as it's growing on its own. Nepal has entered into agreements for avoidance of double taxation (all in credit method) with 10 countries (PSRD) since 0000. Similarly, it has Investment protection agreements with 5 countries (PSRD) since 1983. In 2014, Nepal restricted the Foreign aid by setting a minimum limit for foreign grants, soft and commercial loans from its development partners.[8]

Imports and exports[edit]

A proportional representation of Nepal's exports.

Nepal's merchandise trade balance has improved somewhat since 2000 with the growth of the carpet and garment industries. In the fiscal year 2000-2001, exports posted a greater increase (14%) than imports (4.5%), helping bring the trade deficit down by 4% from the previous year to $749 million. Recently, the European Union has become the largest buyer of ready-made garments (RMG); Fruits and vegetables (mostly: Apples, Pears, Tomatoes, various salads, peach, nectarine, potatoes, rice) from Nepal. Exports to the EU accounted for 46.13 percent of the country’s garment exports.[9]

The annual monsoon rain, or lack of it, strongly influences economic growth. From 1996 to 1999, real GDP growth averaged less than 4%. The growth rate recovered in 1999, rising to 6% before slipping slightly in 2001 to 5.5%.

Strong export performance, including earnings from tourism, and external aid have helped improve the overall balance of payments and increase international reserves. Nepal receives substantial amounts of external assistance from the United Kingdom,[10][11][12] the United States, Japan, Germany, and the Scandinavian countries.

Several multilateral organisations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, and the UN Development Programme also provide assistance. In June 1998, Nepal submitted its memorandum on a foreign trade regime to the World Trade Organization and in May 2000 began direct negotiations on its accession.


Tourists trekking in Annapurna region in western Nepal. Tourism plays a vital role in Nepal's economy.

Progress has been made in exploiting Nepal's natural resources, tourism and hydroelectricity. With eight of the world's 10 highest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest at 8,848 m. In the early 1990s, one large public sector project and a number of private projects were planned; some have been completed. The most significant private sector financed hydroelectric projects currently in operation are the Khimti Khola (60 MW) and the Bhote Koshi Project (36 MW).The project is still undergoing and has dependency on China, India and Japan to take the further steps.

Nepal has 83,000 MW of theoretical and 42,133 MW of technically/financially viable hydroelectric potential, however the total installed capacity, at present, is mere 730.47 MW.[13]

The environmental impact of Nepal's hydroelectric Own calendar (Bikram Sambat) New year in mid- April projects has been limited by the fact that most are "run-of-the-river" with only one storage project undertaken to date. The largest hydroelectric plant under consideration is the West Seti (750 MW) storage project dedicated to exports to be built by the private sector. Negotiations with India for a power purchase agreement have been underway for several years, but agreement on pricing and financing remains a problem. Currently demand for electricity is increasing at 8-10% a year whereas Nepal's option to have agreement with India will make this fulfilment against demand.

Population pressure on natural resources is increasing. Over-population is already straining the "carrying capacity" of the middle hill areas, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, resulting in the depletion of forest cover for crops, fuel, and fodder and contributing to erosion and flooding. Although steep mountain terrain makes exploitation difficult, mineral surveys have found small deposits of limestone, magnesite, zinc, copper, iron, mica, lead, and cobalt.

The development of hydroelectric power projects also cause some tension with local indigenous groups, recently[when?] empowered by Nepal's ratification of ILO Convention 169.[14]

Macro-economic trend[edit]

This is a chart of trend of gross domestic product of Nepal at market prices estimated by the International Monetary Fund and EconStats with figures in millions of Nepalese Rupees.[citation needed]

Year Gross domestic product
1960 3,870
1965 5,602
1970 8,768
1975 16,571
1980 23,350
1985 46,586
1990 103,415
1995 219,174
2000 379,488


GDP:: purchasing power parity - $78.55 billion (2017 est.)[1]

GDP - real growth rate: 7.5% (2017)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity (current international $) - $2700 (2017 est.) GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 27%
industry: 13.5%
services: 51.5% (2017 est.)

Population below poverty line: 23.8% (2011)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1995–96)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.5% (2017)

Labour force: 4 million (2016 est.) [Citation needed.]

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture 69%, services 19%, industry 12% (2014 est.)

Unemployment rate: 3.2% (2017 est.)

revenues: $5.954 billion
expenditures: $5.974 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2017 est.)

Industries: tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production

Industrial production growth rate: 10.9% (2017 est.):

Electricity - production: 4,083 GWh (2017)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 8.5%
hydro: 91.5%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Available energy:6257.73 GWh (2017) NEA HYDRO:2290.78 GWh (2014) NEA THERMAL:9.56 GWh (2014) purchase(total):2331.17 GWh (2014) India(purchase):2175.04 GWh (2017) Nepal(IPP):1258.94 GWh (2014)

Electricity - consumption: 4,776.53 GWh (2017)

Electricity - exports: 95 GWh (2001) Electricity - imports: 227 GWh (2001)

Oil - production: 0 barrels per day (0 m3/d) (2001 est.)

Oil - consumption: 16,000 barrels per day (2,500 m3/d) 2001

Agriculture - products: Fruits and vegetables (mostly: Apples, Pears, Tomatoes, various salads, peach, nectarine, potatoes, rice), maize, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, domestic buffalo meat

Exports: $818.7 million f.o.b., but does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2017 est.)

Exports - commodities: carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain

Exports - partners: India 56.6%, US 11.5%, Turkey 4% (2016 est.)

Imports: $11.03 billion f.o.b. (2017 est.)

Imports - commodities: gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, electrical goods, medicine

Imports - partners: India 70.1%, China 10.3%, UAE 2.6%, Singapore 2.1%, Saudi Arabia 1.2%. (2016 est.)

Debt - external: $5.948 billion (2017 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $424 million (FY 00/01)

Currency: 1 Nepalese rupee (NPR) = 100 paisa

Fiscal year: 16 July - 15 July


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Ease of Doing Business in Nepal". Retrieved 2017-01-27. 
  3. ^ "Export Partners of Nepal". CIA World Factbook. 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  4. ^ "Import Partners of Nepal". CIA World Factbook. 2015. Retrieved 26 July 2016. 
  5. ^ Kathmandu nearly out of fuel, Nepal says. CNN. 17 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
  6. ^ Cost of Living Index in Nepal - Statistics & Graphs of Nepalese Citizen's Economic Power. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  7. ^ IFPRI/ Concern/ Welthungerhilfe: 2011 Global Hunger Index The challenge of hunger: Taming price spikes and excessive food price volatility. Bonn, Washington D. C., Dublin. October 2011.
  8. ^ "Nepal puts a minimum amount limit on foreign aid and loans". IANS. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "EU as Nepal's largest exporter". ktm2day. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "UK should cut aid to Nepal if "endemic" corruption persists: report". Reuters. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "DFID's bilateral programme in Nepal". The International Development Committee of the House of Commons. 27 March 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  12. ^ "A Conversation with Departing Nepal Chief of the UK Aid Agency". United We Blog! for a Democratic Nepal. 15 June 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Nepali Political parties criticize Indian Hydel Power proposal". IANS. Retrieved 20 July 2014. 
  14. ^ Jones, Peris: When the lights go out. Hydroelectric power and indigenous rights in Nepal Archived 30 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. NIBR International Blog 11.03.10

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2003 edition".

External links[edit]