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What is the Tonga pa’anga (TOP)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

In the latest credit ratings from December 1970, Moody's gives Tonga a Baa1 rating, with a stable outlook. Finally, S&P last issued a A rating, with a stable outlook.

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.


In 2010 the total GDP was $348,330,401 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $3,349. It fell by -0.48% over the previous year.


The latest unemployment rate for 2006 is 1.10%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 130.72.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Sialeʻataongo Tuʻivakanō, and the head of state is King Tupou VI (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The pa’anga, denoted by the ISO code TOP, is the official currency of the Kingdom of Tonga. The National Reserve Bank of Tonga controls the currency. The pa’anga is not convertible and has a composite peg to a basket of currencies including: the Australian, New Zealand, and United States dollars and the Japanese yen. The pa’anga further divides into 100 seniti. In Tonga, the pa’anga is called “dollar” and the seniti “cent”. One hundred pa’anga is also equal to 1 hau; however, this unit is not generally used in every day life and is mainly found on commemorative coins in high denominations.

Sovereign Ratings for Tonga

Tonga is not rated.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Tonga’s government is a hereditary constitutional monarchy with three branches – the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The executive branch contains the monarch who presides over country. It also includes a prime minister and cabinet, who together form the Privy Council when ruled by the monarch. The cabinet and prime are appointed for life by the monarch. Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Legislative Assembly or Fale Alea, which has 30 seats. Out of these, 12 are given to cabinet members, nine for nobles who are selected by the country’s 33 nobles, and the remaining nine are elected by popular vote. All 30 members serve three-year terms. The judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court, whose judges are appointed by the monarch and the Court of Appeal, which is made up of the Privy Council and the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State King George TUPOU V (since 11 September 2006) Head of Government Prime Minister Dr. Feleti SEVELE (since 11 February 2006); Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Viliami TANGI (since 16 May 2006) Cabinet Cabinet consists of 14 members, 10 appointed by the monarch for life; 4 appointed from among the elected members of the Legislative Assembly, including 2 each from the nobles’ and peoples’ representatives serving three-year terms note: there is also a Privy Council that consists of the monarch, the cabinet, and 2 governors Elections the monarch is hereditary; prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the monarch

Key Economic Factors


Tonga is a small, open economy with a narrow export base in agricultural goods. About two-thirds of Tonga’s total exports come from agriculture. The majority of Tonga’s food is imported, for the most part from New Zealand. Tonga’s second largest source of hard currency earnings comes from tourism. However, even with the tourism industry, Tonga relies on foreign aid and help from other overseas Tongan communities to balance its trade deficit. In efforts to help the economy, Tonga’s government is pushing the development of the private sector, in particular promoting investment, and is also trying to increase funds dedicated to health and education. On a positive side, Tonga, for the most part, has a sound basic infrastructure and strong social services. In the future, the government must work hard to tackle problems such as high unemployment among the youth and ongoing increases in inflation.

Agriculture products:

Squash, coconuts, copra, bananas, vanilla beans, cocoa, coffee, ginger, black pepper and fish.

Major Trading Partners:

Japan, New Zealand, US, Fiji, Australia and India.

Import Commodities:

Foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, fuels and chemicals.

Export Commodities:

Squash, fish, vanilla beans, and root crops.

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