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Economy of Réunion


The economy of Réunion has traditionally been based on agriculture. Sugar cane has been the primary crop for more than a century, and in some years it accounts for 85% of exports. The government has been pushing the development of a tourist industry to relieve high unemployment, which amounts to more than 40% of the labour force.

The gap in Réunion between the well-off and the poor is large and accounts for the persistent social tensions. The white and Indian communities are substantially better off than other segments of the population, often approaching European standards, whereas minority groups suffer the poverty and unemployment typical of the poorer nations of the African continent. The outbreak of severe rioting in February 1991 illustrated the seriousness of socio-economic tensions. However, this gap has been closing in the last 15 years.

In 2007 the GDP per capita of Réunion at nominal exchange rates, not at PPP, was €17,146 ($23,501). However, while this is exceptionally high compared with its neighbours in Mauritius, Madagascar and the African continent, it is only 57% of the €30,140 per capita GDP of metropolitan France in 2007. The total GDP of the island was $18.8 billion in 2007.


GDP (purchasing power parity):
$4.811 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

GDP - real growth rate:
2.5% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$6,200 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 8%
industry: 19%
services: 73% (2000 est.)

Labour force:
309,900 (2000)

Labour force - by occupation:
agriculture: 13%
industry: 12%
services: 75% (2000)

Unemployment rate:
36% (1999 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

revenues: $1.26 billion
expenditures: $2.62 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (1998)

Agriculture - products:
sugar cane, vanilla, tobacco, tropical fruits, vegetables, corn

sugar, rum, cigarettes, handicraft items, flower oil extraction

Industrial production growth rate:

Electricity - production:
1.19 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:
1.107 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2003)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2003)

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - consumption:
18,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day

Oil - imports::
NA bbl/day

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2003 est.)

$214 million f.o.b. (1997)

Exports - commodities:
sugar 63%, rum and molasses 4%, perfume essences 2%, lobster 3%

Exports - partners:
France 74%, Japan 6%, Comoros 4% (2004)

$2.5 billion c.i.f. (1997)

Imports - commodities:
manufactured goods, food, beverages, tobacco, machinery and transportation equipment, raw materials, and petroleum products

Imports - partners:
France 64%, Bahrain 3%, Germany 3%, Italy 3% (2004)

Debt - external:

Economic aid - recipient:
$NA; note - substantial annual subsidies from France (2001 est.)

Currency (code):
euro (EUR)

Exchange rates:
euros per US dollar - 0.8041 (2005), 0.8054 (2004), 0.886 (2003), 1.0626 (2002), 1.1175 (2001)

Fiscal year:
calendar year





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