Economy of Luxembourg

Economy of Luxembourg

The economy of Luxembourg is largely dependent on the banking, steel, and industrial sectors. Luxembourgers enjoy the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world (CIA 2007 est.), behind Qatar. Luxembourg is seen as a diversified industrialized nation, contrasting the oil boom in Qatar, the majority monetary source of that nation.

Although Luxembourg in tourist literature is aptly called the "Green Heart of Europe", its pastoral land coexists with a highly industrialized and export-intensive economy. Luxembourg enjoys a degree of economic prosperity almost unique among industrialized democracies.

Industries

Banking

Banking is the largest sector in the Luxembourg economy. The country is a tax haven and attracts capital from other countries as the costs of investing through Luxembourg are low. At the end of March 2006, there were 155 banks in Luxembourg, with 23,000 employees. Political stability, good communications, easy access to other European centres, skilled multilingual staff, and a tradition of banking secrecy have all contributed to the growth of the financial sector. Germany accounts for the largest-single grouping of banks, with Scandinavian, Japanese, and major U.S. banks also heavily represented. Total assets exceeded €792.4 billion at the end of 2005. More than 9,000 holding companies are established in Luxembourg. The European Investment Bank—the financial institution of the European Union—is also located there.

teel

A key event in the economic history of Luxembourg was the 1876 introduction of English metallurgy. The refining process led to the development of the steel industry in Luxembourg and founding of the Arbed company in 1911.

The iron and steel industry, located along the French border, is an important sector of the economy. Steel accounts for 29% of all exports (excluding services), 1.8% of GDP, 22% of industrial employment, and 3.9% of the work force.Fact|date=February 2007

The restructuring of the industry and increasing government ownership in Arbed (31%) began as early as 1974. As a result of timely modernization of facilities, cutbacks in production and employment, government assumption of portions of Arbed's debt, and recent cyclical recovery of the international demand for steel, the company is again profitable. Its productivity is among the highest in the world. U.S. markets account for about 6% of Arbed's output. The company specializes in production of large architectural steel beams and specialized value-added products. There has been, however, a relative decline in the steel sector, offset by Luxembourg's emergence as a financial center. In 2001, through the merger with Aceralia and Usinor, Arbed became Arcelor. Arcelor was taken over in 2006 by Mittal Steel to form Arcelor-Mittal, the largest steel producer in the world.

Telecommunications

Government policies promote the development of Luxembourg as an audiovisual and communications center. Radio-Television-Luxembourg is Europe's premier private radio and television broadcaster. The government-backed Luxembourg satellite company "Société européenne des satellites" (SES) was created in 1986 to install and operate a satellite telecommunications system for transmission of television programs throughout Europe. The first SES "Astra" satellite, a 16-channel RCA 4000, was launched by Ariane Rocket in December 1988. SES presently constitutes the world largest satellite services company in terms of revenue.

Agriculture

Luxembourg's small and highly subsidized, mainly by the EU and the government, but productive agricultural sector employs about 1%-3% of the work force. Most farmers are engaged in dairy and meat production. Vineyards in the Moselle Valley annually produce about 15 million liters of dry white wine, most of which is consumed within Luxembourg and also in Germany, France, and Belgium on a lesser scale.

Foreign Investment

Luxembourg offers a favorable climate to foreign investment. Successive governments have effectively attracted new investment in medium, light, and high-tech industry. Incentives cover taxes, construction, and plant equipment. U.S. firms are among the most prominent foreign investors, producing tires (Goodyear), chemicals (DuPont), glass (Guardian Industries), and a wide range of industrial equipment. The current value of U.S. direct investment is almost $1.5 billion, on a per capita basis--the highest level of U.S. direct investment outside of North America.

Luxembourg's trade account has run a persistent deficit over the last decade, but the country enjoys an overall balance-of-payment surplus, due to revenues from financial services. Government finances are strong, and budgets are normally in surplus.

Labor Relations

Labor relations have been peaceful since the 1930s. Most industrial workers are organized by unions linked to one of the major political parties. Representatives of business, unions, and government participate in the conduct of major labor negotiations.

Foreign investors often cite Luxembourg's labor relations as a primary reason for locating in the Grand Duchy. Unemployment in 1999 averaged less than 2.8% of the work force, but reached 4.4% by 2007.

Energy

Luxembourg tried to build a 1,200 MW nuclear reactor but dropped the plans after threats of major protests. [“Reactors.” "Wise – Nuclear issues information services." July 1978. ]

Currently, Luxembourg uses imported oil and natural gas for the majority of its energy generation. [“LUXEMBOURG – Energy Mix Fact Sheet.” "Europa." January 2007. http://ec.europa.eu/energy/energy_policy/doc/factsheets/mix/mix_lu_en.pdf]

ee also

* [http://www.oecd.org/luxembourg/ OECD's Luxembourg country Web site] and [http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/luxembourg/ OECD Economic Survey of Luxembourg]
*Economy of Europe
*Luxembourg

External links

*Government statistics [http://www.statistiques.public.lu]
*CIA World Factbook -- Luxembourg [https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/lu.html]


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