RBF stresses need to build policy buffers
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.
Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Barry Whiteside, at the Pacific Update Conference at the University of South Pacific yesterday.