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IMF Staff Completes 2018 Article IV Visit to Fiji

It was a fruitful visit by the International Mon­etary Fund (IMF) team led by Pablo Lopez Murphy to conduct the discussions for the 2018 Article IV con­sultation. The team have
19 Dec 2018 11:12
IMF Staff Completes 2018 Article IV Visit to Fiji
From left: International Monetary Fund economist in the Asia-Pacific Department Sandile Hlatshwayo, IMF Asia-Pacific Department deputy division chief Pablo Lopez Murphy, IMF Southeast Asia Voting Group Office of the Executive director, Alternate executive director Keng Heng Tan after the press conference at the Reserve Bank of Fiji on December 18, 2018. Photo: Maraia Vula

It was a fruitful visit by the International Mon­etary Fund (IMF) team led by Pablo Lopez Murphy to conduct the discussions for the 2018 Article IV con­sultation.

The team have been here from December 3 till yes­terday.

At the Article IV Press Conference yesterday at the Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr Lopez Murphy said: “The economy is recov­ering well from several natural disasters and is ex­pected to record its ninth consecutive year of expan­sion in 2018.

“The fiscal stance has eased substantially in fis­cal year 2017/18 and exter­nal conditions are becom­ing less favorable due to lower sugar prices, higher oil prices, and slowing growth in main trading partners.

“Growth is expected to pick up to about 3.2 per cent in 2018, underpinned by consumption and pub­lic investment. The growth momentum is projected to continue in the coming years.

“Headline inflation in­creased to 5.2 per cent in November reflecting high­er taxes on tobacco and alcohol as well as higher prices for yaqona caused by floods in April. Infla­tion is projected to decline to three per cent in 2019-20 as supply conditions nor­malise.

“Risks to the economic outlook are tilted to the downside.

“Downside risks stem from natural disasters; higher oil prices, slower growth in main trading partners, and delays in implementing structural reforms to mobilise private investment.

“On the upside, the new air routes and code share arrangements with Japan and United Kingdom may boost the tourism sector.

“Policies should aim to increase Fiji’s resilience to shocks and strengthen growth performance.

“Faster fiscal consolida­tion is needed to rebuild fiscal space and support external stability.

“Improving the business environment and govern­ance will raise potential growth by mobilising pri­vate investment, enhanc­ing productivity, and diver­sifying the economy.

“The team had fruitful discussions with the Attor­ney-General and Minister of Economy, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), other senior public officials, several govern­ment agencies, develop­ment partners, and private sector representatives.

“Staff from the World Bank also joined some of the discussions. The team would like to thank the Fi­jian authorities for their hospitality and excellent co-operation.”

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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