26th May 07:49 PM
Economic growth projected down for 2019
By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 11/05/2019
Ariff Ali

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says the Fijian economy is poised to continue expanding for the tenth consecutive year after an estimated growth of 4.2 percent in 2018 and real gross domestic product is forecast to grow by 2.7 percent this year, down from the earlier projection of 3.4 percent.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank and Chairman of the Macroeconomic Committee, Ariff Ali says the revised lower growth this year reflects moderation in domestic economic activity and is in line with the slowdown anticipated for the global economy.

The International Monetary Fund, in its April World Economic Outlook downgraded the global growth forecast for 2019 to 3.3 percent from the previous forecast of 3.5 percent.

Ali says overall growth in aggregate demand will be modest this year based on partial indicators for the first quarter of this year, slowdown in private sector credit and the expected fiscal consolidation in the 2019‑2020 National Budget.

The RBF Governor says agriculture, manufacturing, information and  communication, accommodation and food services and the wholesale and retail trade sectors are expected to contribute positively to domestic economic growth this year.

Ali says the favourable performance of the agriculture sector is envisaged to be driven by an increase in cane production coupled with increases anticipated in the production of most agricultural crops and livestock.

Following a decline in 2018, Ali says a turnaround is anticipated for sugar manufacturing in anticipation of higher production given the absence of any major natural disasters so far this year.

The RBF Governor also reveals that while the tourism sector will continue to contribute positively to economic growth, a deceleration in visitor arrivals is envisaged.

The mining sector is projected to contract due to lower gold production forecast for Vatukoula Gold Mine as a consequence of the consecutive declines noted in gold production in the first three months of the year.

Activity in the construction sector is also expected to moderate following the completion of reconstruction of schools and buildings damaged by Tropical Cyclone Winston.

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