15 Dec 2008

New Caledonia set to weather financial storm

11:46 am on 15 December 2008

A new survey says despite the global financial crisis, New Caledonia is set to continue on its path of economic growth which has been nearly five percent a year for the past three years.

The study by CEROM says despite a nearly 70 percent drop in the price of nickel this year, the outlook is encouraging, with continued low unemployment.

It says the number of people in paid employment has grown by 36 percent in the period 1998 to 2006, with a range of projects, such as airport development and smelter construction, helping to maintain the momentum.

Up to 2012, more than five billion US dollars in investments are planned for a territory whose population is below 300,000.

The study points out that inequalities persist, with the richest households earning 20 times more than the poorest ones, which is a spread three times bigger than in France.

It also notes that despite the boom, a quarter of households remain below the poverty line, defined as incomes below 1,200 US dollars a month.