RBF stresses need to build pol­icy buf­fers

Fiji Sun - - Business - RACHNA LAL Feed­back: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

Build­ing pol­icy buf­fers in good times is im­por­tant to en­sur­ing we pro­tect our eco­nomic fun­da­men­tals and growth tra­jec­tory. This was the mes­sage from the Re­serve Bank of Fiji Gover­nor, Barry White­side, at the Pa­cific Up­date Con­fer­ence at the Univer­sity of South Pa­cific yes­ter­day. Mr White­side em­pha­sised not­with­stand­ing Fiji’s strong and sta­ble macroe­co­nomic per­for­mance, we are sus­cep­ti­ble to both do­mes­tic and ex­ter­nal shocks – such as nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, spikes in oil prices or fur­ther global and a China slow­down.

“In ad­di­tion, Fiji must con­tinue to look at op­por­tu­ni­ties to do bet­ter in ar­eas where we have abun­dant re­sources, like agri­cul­ture,” he said.

Mr White­side stressed Fiji’s growth in 2016 re­mains broad based, out­side of the sec­tors neg­a­tively im­pacted by TC Win­ston.

These, he said, in­clude agri­cul­ture, es­pe­cially cane; sugar man­u­fac­tur­ing; util­i­ties such as elec­tric­ity and wa­ter and the forestry in­dus­try.

“In fact, the six lead­ing growth sec­tors with the ex­cep­tion of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor (af­fected by higher in­sur­ance claims post-nat­u­ral dis­as­ters) are ex­pected to grow stronger in 2016, rel­a­tive to ear­lier ex­pec­ta­tions,” he said. “The medium term out­look for the Fiji econ­omy is ex­pected to re­main pos­i­tive. “Not­with­stand­ing any fur­ther ad­verse shocks, our cur­rent fore­casts put growth at 3.6 per cent for 2017 and 3.2 per cent for 2018. “Fu­ture growth is ex­pected to re­sult from on­go­ing re­build­ing ef­forts, as well as the faster pace of gov­ern­ment cap­i­tal spend­ing, strong tourist num­bers and good re­mit­tance in­flows.” Mr White­side said the trans­port sec­tor has con­tin­ued to lead growth for Fiji.

He said it is ex­pected to per­form bet­ter this year on ac­count of the com­mence­ment of Fiji Air­ways’ flights to Sin­ga­pore and San Fran­cisco.

Photo: VIL­IMONI VA­GANALAU.

Re­serve Bank of Fiji Gover­nor, Barry White­side, at the Pa­cific Up­date Con­fer­ence at the Univer­sity of South Pa­cific yes­ter­day.

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