6 Mar 2007

Fiji Reserve Bank forecasts higher trade deficit

10:30 am on 6 March 2007

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says the country's trade performance continues to be dismal.

In its latest Economic Review, the Reserve Bank says in the 12 months to November last year, export earnings fell by around 0.7% compared with 0.1% in the same period in 2005.

It says the fall in export earnings would be even more pronounced at 3% without the re-export of mineral fuels.

The Reserve Bank says export earnings from most traditional sectors fell over the review period including garments, sugar, gold, molasses, timber, footwear, textiles and coconut oil.

It says decreases in these areas more than offset increases in such sectors as mineral water, fish, fruit and vegetables and kava.

The Reserve Bank says with payments for imports rising by 17% till November last year, higher imports continue to pose the risk of a higher trade deficit.

The figures refer to the period before the military takeover in December.

The interim administration's revised budget for this year tabled last week has measures to boost exports but their success will not be known till late this year.