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Greenland, the world's largest island, is about 81% ice capped. Vikings reached the island in the 10th century from Iceland; Danish colonization began in the 18th century, and Greenland was made an integral part of Denmark in 1953. It joined the European Community (now the EU) with Denmark in 1973 but withdrew in 1985 over a dispute centered on stringent fishing quotas. Greenland was granted self-government in 1979 by the Danish parliament; the law went into effect the following year. Greenland voted in favor of increased self-rule in November 2008 and acquired greater responsibility for internal affairs when the Act on Greenland Self Government was signed into law in June 2009. Denmark, however, continues to exercise control of Greenland's foreign affairs, security, and financial policy in consultation with Greenland's Home Rule Government.


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Economy - overview
The economy remains critically dependent on exports of shrimp and fish, income from resource exploration and extraction, and on a substantial subsidy from the Danish Government. The subsidy is budgeted to be about $650 million in 2012, approximately 56% of government revenues in 2012 for the year. The public sector, including publicly owned enterprises and the municipalities, plays the dominant role in Greenland's economy. Greenland's real GDP contracted about 1% in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown, but is estimated to have grown 2% in 2010 and 3% in 2011. The relative ease with which Greenland has weathered the economic crisis is due to increased hydrocarbon and mineral exploration and extraction activities, a high level of construction activity in the Nuuk area and the increasing price of fish and shrimp. During the last decade the Greenland Home Rule Government (GHRG) pursued conservative fiscal and monetary policies, but public pressure has increased for better schools, health care and retirement systems. The Greenlandic economy has benefited from increasing catches and exports of shrimp, Greenland halibut and, more recently, crabs. Due to Greenland's continued dependence on exports of fish - which accounted for 89% of exports in 2010 - the economy remains very sensitive to foreign developments. International consortia are increasingly active in exploring for hydrocarbon resources off Greenland's western coast, and international studies indicate the potential for oil and gas fields in northern and northeastern Greenland. In May 2007 a US aluminum producer concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Greenland Home Rule Government to build an aluminum smelter and a power generation facility, which takes advantage of Greenland's abundant hydropower potential. Within the area of mining, olivine sand continues to be produced and gold production has resumed in south Greenland. Tourism also offers another avenue of economic growth for Greenland, with increasing numbers of cruise lines now operating in Greenland's western and southern waters during the peak summer tourism season.

Gdp (purchasing power parity) World Ranking: 187
$2.133 billion (2011 est.)
$2.071 billion (2010 est.)
$2.03 billion (2009 est.)

Gdp (official exchange rate)
$2.16 billion (2011 est.)

Gdp - real growth rate World Ranking: 123
3% (2011 est.)
2% (2010 est.)
-1% (2009 est.)

Gdp - per capita (ppp) World Ranking: 30
$37,400 (2008 est.)
$36,600 (2007 est.)

Gdp - composition by sector
Agriculture 4%
Industry 29%
Services 67% (2009 est.)

Labor force World Ranking: 203
33,670 (2010)

Labor force - by occupation
Agriculture 4%
Industry 29%
Services 67% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate World Ranking: 40
4.2% (2010 est.)
3.7% (2009 est.)

Population below poverty line
9.2% (2007 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10% NA%
Highest 10% NA%

Revenues $1.099 billion
Expenditures $1.099 billion (2010)

Taxes and other revenues World Ranking: 20
50.9% of GDP (2010)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) World Ranking: 45
0% of GDP (2010)

Inflation rate (consumer prices) World Ranking: 47
2.8% (2011 est.)
2% (2010 est.)

Agriculture - products
Forage crops, garden and greenhouse vegetables; sheep, reindeer; fish

Fish processing (mainly shrimp and Greenland halibut); gold, niobium, tantalite, uranium, iron and diamond mining; handicrafts, hides and skins, small shipyards

Industrial production growth rate

Electricity - production World Ranking: 168
276.6 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - consumption World Ranking: 174
239.4 million kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - exports
0 kWh (2010 est.)

Electricity - imports
0 kWh (2010 est.)

Oil - production World Ranking: 176
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - consumption World Ranking: 175
4,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - exports World Ranking: 116
1,050 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - imports World Ranking: 164
4,330 bbl/day (2009)

Oil - proved reserves World Ranking: 136
0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural gas - production World Ranking: 186
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - consumption World Ranking: 181
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - exports World Ranking: 106
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - imports World Ranking: 197
0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves World Ranking: 181
0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Exports World Ranking: 178
$381 million (2010)
$358 million (2009)

Exports - commodities
Fish and fish products 89%, metals 10% (2008)

Exports - partners
Denmark 63.4%, Japan 11.9%, China 6.3% (2011)

Imports World Ranking: 182
$806 million (2010)
$726 million (2009)

Imports - commodities
Machinery and transport equipment, manufactured goods, food, petroleum products

Imports - partners
Denmark 58.2%, Sweden 19.7%, UK 10.3% (2011)

Debt - external World Ranking: 193
$36.4 million (2010)
$58 million (2009)

Exchange rates
Danish kroner (DKK) per US dollar -
5.3687 (2011)
5.6241 (2010)
5.361 (2009)
5.0236 (2008)
5.4797 (2007)

Fiscal year
Calendar year


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  Greenland [ Denmark ] (Denmark):

  GPS points from Greenland [ Denmark ] (Denmark)

Qaqatoqaq Qeqqata

Qalagtoq Qaasuitsup

Mattaangasut Qaasuitsup

Musk Ox Fjord Ostgronland

Sorraitsup Tasia Sermersooq

Sermilik Kujalleq

Cape Kent Qaasuitsup

Qornguatsiaq Sermersooq
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