27 Jul 2006

Fiji economic indicators point to devaluation

7:35 am on 27 July 2006

A report from Fiji says all economic indicators are pointing to a devaluation of the local currency.

Fiji TV says the Fiji Chamber of Commerce is warning that the economy must be prepared for every possibility.

The chamber president, Taito Waradi, says given the rising national debt levels and the Reserve Bank's decision to raise interest rates twice in six months, devaluation is a real possibility.

Mr Waradi says the soft option is to let things go on as they are.

He says that is why the Chamber supports the Reserve Bank's decision to tighten monetary policy to avoid devaluation.

The Asian Development Bank's economic outlook for 2006 and 2007 has also expressed concern about overvaluation of the Fiji dollar.

But some economists are warning that speculation about devaluation will cause local money to flee overseas, putting more strain on Fiji's declining foreign reserves.

The last devaluation of the Fiji dollar was in 1998 when it went down by 20%.