October 5, 2008

Fiji Trade Deficit goes on Increasing

Trade deficit hits $1.1 billion
04/10/2008 - www.fijilive.com

Fiji’s trade deficit hit almost $1.2 billion for the 12 months ending September this year, the country’s central bank has revealed.

This is compared to around $950 million recorded for the same period last year.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji’s (RBF) September economic review said higher growth in import payments contributed to the increase in the merchandise trade deficit.

On trade developments, the RBF said domestic export earnings rose by 15.2 per cent in July, attributed to higher inflows from sugar, fish, mineral water, timber, sweet biscuits, flour, gold and other domestic exports.

This was supplemented by earnings from re-exports, contributing to a higher growth of 20.9 per cent for total exports.

Total imports swelled by 23.1 per cent in July.

All categories of import – intermediate (11.6 per cent), consumption (8.9 per cent), and investment (2.6 per cent) goods rose.

On the domestic front, activities remained subdued, the RBF said.

Lending for consumption purposes rose in July by 6.4 per cent on an annual basis.

In addition, imports of consumption goods rose by 23.8 per cent cumulative to July, although this could be driven primarily by higher prices.

Moreover, the poor performances of major sectors such as cane and sugar, subdued labour market conditions and the decline in remittances receipts (21.7 per cent) are expected to moderate consumer spending.

At the end of August, official foreign reserves stood at $911.3 million (provisional), sufficient to cover 3.6 months of imports and goods.

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