Nordic Tiger

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DEFINITION of 'Nordic Tiger'

A colloquial term for the Scandinavian nation of Iceland. Prior to the global financial crisis of 2008, Iceland was on a strong growth trajectory that justified the "Nordic Tiger" sobriquet, with high levels of GDP growth, low unemployment and even distribution of income.


The Icelandic economy remains heavily dependent on fishing, which contributes 40% of export earnings and more than 12% of gross domestic product. However, the country's reliance on this sector has decreased over the years, as the economy has diversified into other areas such as software, biotechnology and tourism.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Nordic Tiger'

Iceland was one of the earliest casualties of the 2008 crisis, and one of the worst-hit economies. Much of the nation's rapid growth in recent years came after the privatization of its banking sector in the early 2000s and subsequent aggressive expansion by its banks, both nationally and overseas. The 2008 crisis triggered the collapse of Iceland's three largest banks later that year, and resulted in the economy contracting by 6.8% the following year.

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