Cook Islands: Economy

Delays in implementing projects slowed economic expansion in the Cook Islands. Growth is expected to accelerate this year before contracting slightly next year.

Selected Economic Indicators (%) - Cook Islands 2015 2016
GDP Growth 2.1 -0.3
Inflation 1.3 1.4
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) ... ...

Source: ADB estimates.

Economic performance

In the Cook Islands, the gross domestic product declined by 1.2% in Fiscal Year 2014 (ended 30 June 2014), a slight improvement from 1.7% contraction in FY2013. Delays in implementing projects supported by development partners outweighed growth in visitor arrivals. Updated official figures have caused the latest growth estimates to differ significantly from those reported in previous editions of Asian Development Outlook.

Tourism remains a key income source for South Pacific economies. Visitors to the Cook Islands increased to about 123,000 in FY2014, up by 1.6% over FY2013. Although visitor arrivals to the Cook Islands continue to increase, growth has slowed over the past few years.

Economic prospects

Growth in FY2015 is forecast to improve but remain slow at 2.1%, driven largely by capital projects funded by development partners. A slight contraction of 0.3% is expected in FY2016 as large public investment projects end. Visitor arrivals in the Cook Islands are expected to stabilize in FY2015 and FY2016 after years of steady increase. Arrivals from New Zealand and Australia, the key source markets, began to soften in late FY2014. Capacity constraints loom in Rarotonga, the capital island, as the accommodation occupancy rate reached 74% in FY2014.

Excerpted from the Asian Development Outlook 2015.