Jobs, consumption, investment continue to be subdued:RBF

The Reserve Bank of Fiji says recent locally transmitted cases and containment measures will prolong already subdued economic activity in the country.

The RBF’s April statement reports that visitor arrivals were down of course, as was electricity (-13.4%) and mahogany. There was a big boost in pine log production, woodchips and sawn timber as a result of increased demand. Gold production also increased 17.5% due to higher quality ore being minded.

There were declines in net VAT collections (down 27.8%), consumer credit (down 24.1%), new vehicle sales (-17.8%) and registrations, reflecting weak consumption activity. However there was strong growth in second-hand vehicle registrations (up 122%), “driven in part by the budgetary changes around vehicle imports.”

The job market is very subdued; job adverisements declined by 75.8% for the year to March. Compulsory Fiji National Provident Fund membership dropped 64% for the same period.

Private sector credit fell 3.7% in March for the ninth consecutive month.

“In terms of the Bank’s twin objectives, inflation remains low and foreign reserves are ample” the statement says. It says inflation slipped to -1.2% due to lower prices for local food, alcohol and yaqona.