31 Mar 2008

Positive economic outlook for much of the Pacific despite global downturn

4:22 pm on 31 March 2008

A survey says the economic well-being of several Pacific countries looks set to improve despite the likelihood of a global economic slowdown.

The Pacific Economic Survey was launched by Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Duncan Kerr, in Vanuatu.

It says the region's combined gross domestic product is projected to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2008, up from an average of 2.8 per cent between 2005 and 2007.

It credits the commodities boom for economic growth in Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste and increased tourism for growth in Vanuatu, Samoa and Palau.

However, the economic rebound in the Solomon Islands economy is being driven in large part by substantial aid flows and unsustainable logging, while the economies of Fiji and Tonga have contracted as a result of political instability.