RBF: Aus­tralian vis­i­tor num­bers on de­cline since April

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

It noted that num­bers from Aus­tralia have been on a de­clin­ing trend since April. This is de­spite tourist ar­rivals from New Zealand and China con­tin­u­ing to grow.

The Re­serve Bank of Fiji has re­vealed in its Oc­to­ber Eco­nomic re­view that vis­i­tor num­bers from our ma­jor tourist mar­ket, Aus­tralia, con­tin­ues to de­cline. It noted that num­bers from Aus­tralia have been on a de­clin­ing trend since April. This is de­spite tourist ar­rivals from New Zealand and China con­tin­u­ing to grow. Mean­while, the re­port also re­vealed the growth in vis­i­tor ar­rivals (4.2 per cent) cu­mu­la­tive to Septem­ber was lower com­pared to the same pe­riod in 2015 (9.2 per cent).

Over­all, the re­port noted that do­mes­ti­cally, sec­toral out­comes have gen­er­ally been mixed.

Other sec­tors

Cane and sugar pro­duc­tion were lower by 35.3 per cent and 40.2 per cent, re­spec­tively, in the first 17 weeks of crush­ing, re­flec­tive of the neg­a­tive im­pact of Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Win­ston.

Sim­i­larly, ma­hogany (-12.8%) and fish (-22.7%) pro­duc­tion de­clined in the year to Septem­ber and June, re­spec­tively.

On a pos­i­tive note, the In­dus­trial Pro­duc­tion In­dex showed im­proved man­u­fac­tur­ing ac­tiv­ity over the June quar­ter (10.0%) as well as over the same pe­riod in 2015 (0.3%).

On the in­dus­trial front, elec­tric­ity pro­duc­tion noted an an­nual growth (3.5%) in the nine months to Septem­ber, con­sis­tent with higher elec­tric­ity con­sump­tion (0.3%) in the year to Au­gust. Gold pro­duc­tion also noted an an­nual in­crease (14.3%) cu­mu­la­tive to Septem­ber.

Over­all, the re­port said given the low­erthan-an­tic­i­pated per­for­mances in key sec­tors to date, the cur­rent GDP growth pro­jec­tion of 2.4 per cent for this year, which is cur­rently un­der re­view, is down­ward bi­ased.

Labour mar­ket

The re­port in­di­cated labour mar­ket con­di­tions re­mained pos­i­tive. It said the RBF’s Job Ad­ver­tise­ments sur­vey noted an an­nual in­crease (7.2%) in the num­ber of ad­ver­tised va­can­cies cu­mu­la­tive to Septem­ber 2016. Higher re­cruit­ment in­ten­tions were noted in the whole­sale & re­tail trade & restau­rants & ho­tels; con­struc­tion; trans­port, stor­age & com­mu­ni­ca­tion; agri­cul­ture, forestry & fish­ing; and the elec­tric­ity & wa­ter sec­tors.

In­vest­ment

Con­sump­tion and in­vest­ment ac­tiv­ity reg­is­tered con­tin­ued growth in the re­view pe­riod. An­nual in­creases were noted in both new (32.1%) and sec­ond hand (10.7%) ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tions. This was cou­pled with higher new lend­ing by com­mer­cial banks for con­sump­tion pur­poses (11.1%) in the year to Septem­ber. In ad­di­tion, do­mes­tic ce­ment sales grew by 10.0 per cent in the same pe­riod. The value of work put-in-place by the con­struc­tion sec­tor in­creased by 10.3 per cent ($249.6m) cu­mu­la­tive to the June quar­ter. In con­trast, new loans for in­vest­ment pur­poses con­tracted de­clined by 13.9 per cent in the year to Septem­ber.

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