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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March 2005, 17:26 GMT
At-a-glance: Tsunami economic impact
While no one disputes the vast human cost of the Asian tsunami three months ago, the economic impact remains far less clear. Some economies seem to have escaped unscathed; in others, the high cost of reconstruction could bring compensatory flows of aid and investment.

Click on the map below for a country-by-country guide to the economic cost of the disaster.

SomaliaKenyaTanzaniaSeychellesMaldivesSri LankaIndiaBangladeshBurmaThailandMalaysiaIndonesiaAndaman


Hardest-hit in terms of loss of life and physical damage, Indonesia seems to have escaped the worst of the tsunami's economic disruption. The main affected area, Aceh, is rich in resources but far from crucial to overall output.

2004 growth: 5.1%
2005 forecast: 5.5%
Tourism earnings: 3.9% of GDP
External debts: $134.3bn
As a result, official forecasts for growth in gross domestic product (GDP) remain unchanged, at a healthy 5.5% for 2005. And growth in 2004 was 5.1%, at the very top end of the forecast range. Indonesian shares, which have performed strongly this year, have continued to hit a series of record highs since the tsunami hit.

Nonetheless, the immediate cost of reconstruction is high. The government has estimated that Aceh will require some $4bn over the next five years. The International Labour Organisation has estimated that some 1 million jobs have been lost in Indonesia and Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka's economy was on the up before the tsunami struck, buoyed by optimism surrounding the peace process after a 20-year civil war. Now, despite earlier forecasts of a slowdown, the central bank expects that growth in 2004 could be matched or exceeded in 2005.

2004 growth: 5%
2005 forecast: 5.5%
Tourism earnings: 4.6% of GDP
External debts: $10.2bn
Sri Lanka faces a hefty reconstruction bill, since its damaged infrastructure was more developed than in many affected areas. The Asian Development Bank estimates the reconstruction cost at $1.5bn. More worrying still is the longer-term effect on the crucial tourism industry, whose infrastructure - especially on the south coast - has been hard hit. About one-fifth of hotels in the region have been put out of action.

Nonetheless, the Sri Lankan rupee has been the strongest performing currency in the world this month, buoyed by 5% by inflows of foreign aid. The central bank has already said that aid anf other inflows will more than offset any economic losses resulting from the quake.

As in Indonesia, the stock market has been robust. Deregulation of international trade in textiles could help Sri Lankan manufacturers, and is seen as a way to make up for foreign-currency income lost by the tourism sector.


At first glance, India's economy has barely been grazed by the tsunami. But the government has insisted on bearing the brunt of reconstruction itself, rather than relying on aid, so the costs to the budget are more direct than in some neighbouring countries.

2004 growth: 6.4%
2005 forecast: 6-6.5%
Tourism earnings: 2% of GDP
External debts: $118.1bn
On the Indian mainland, the damage has been assessed at $1.2bn. According to calculations from Citigroup - which have resulted in figures far higher than any official estimate so far - the cost could be as high as $6.5bn, based on a reduction of 0.4% of GDP over up to four years. Figures from banks have been far less gloomy, however.

The Indian economy is in a strong position to weather such losses. Growth has been as high as 8% in recent years; this year's forecast, 6-6.5%, is lower only because of poorer agricultural conditions, and has not yet been officially revised downward since the tsunami.


Information has been slow to trickle out of the Indian islands. According to the best official survey so far, damage in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be as high as $600m, despite the lack of sophisticated infrastructure. Some 70% of the islands' jetties have been damaged, which spells trouble for the fishing industry, source of two-thirds of local employment.

As on the mainland, the Indian Government has refused foreign aid.

Despite Thailand's high-profile tourist industry, analysts have not been persuaded to alter their forecasts for the country's growth. Output is expected to rise 5.5-6.5% in 2005, the same as last year. Even the gloomiest forecasts do not peg the cost higher than half a percentage point of GDP growth.

2004 growth: 6.1%
2005 forecast: 5.5-6.5%
Tourism earnings: 5.4% of GDP
External debts: $51.7bn
Thailand is better off than some nearby tourist destinations: although the industry accounts for between 5% and 12% of GDP (depending on whether the direct or indirect impact is calculated), the affected area around Phuket produces just 1.9% of national income.

Unlike Sri Lanka and Indonesia, the Thai Government has shown little interest in debt relief, preferring to maintain its credit rating. Instead, the government has proposed special tax breaks in international markets for Thai products - something that a few foreign governments have reportedly informally approved.


The Maldives are far more dependent on tourism than the other affected countries: almost two-fifths of the workforce is employed in the industry, and its wider effects help produce 74% of GDP.

2004 growth: 5.5%
2005 forecast: 5%
Tourism earnings: 42% of GDP
External debts: $270m
At present, hotel occupancy, normally almost complete at this time of year, is around 45%, and local hoteliers say bookings are being cancelled.

On the other hand, damage has been less severe than feared, and officials already say the most urgent clearing-up has been done. Nonetheless, the Asian Development Bank says reconstruction will cost $304m, and the government is looking for some $1.3bn over the next 3-5 years. According to the ADB, the proportion of people living on less than $2 a day will rise from 43% to more than half.


2004 growth: 7.1%
2005 forecast: 6-6.5%
Tourism earnings: 5.4% of GDP
External debts: $49.1bn
The economic impact on Malaysia is likely to be negligible. According to preliminary estimates within days of the tsunami, the cost of clearing up the damage is around $25m. The government has not asked for aid; indeed, it has taken a lead in providing aid to its neighbours, notably Indonesia.


There is no information on the economic impact.


2004 growth: 5.5%
2005 forecast: 5.2%
External debts: $18.8bn
No significant economic impact is expected.


The United Nations has appealed for $13.1m for the victims. Without a functioning government, Somalia is unable to deliver a meaningful assessment of its needs.


2004 growth: 2.6%
2005 forecast: 3.1%
Tourism earnings: 12% of GDP
External debts: $6.8bn
No significant economic impact is expected.


2004 growth: 5.2%
2005 forecast: 6.6%
Tourism earnings: 6% of GDP
External debts: $7.5bn
No significant economic impact is expected.


2003 growth: -5.1%
Tourism earnings: 50% of GDP
External debts: $553m
Damage has been assessed at $30m - a small figure, but nonetheless equivalent to 14% of the government's 2005 budget. The island's tourist infrastructure was mainly spared, but there was substantial damage to public buildings, transport infrastructure and agriculture. The government has appealed to foreign donors for the $30m; $5m has been pledged by China.


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