1 Jun 2009

Pacific Island nations warned to watch spending

8:46 pm on 1 June 2009

The Asian Development Bank says Pacific Island governments must "cut and trim" low-priority spending to minimise negative effects from the global economic downturn.

The bank's quarterly economic monitor report says Fiji and Solomon Islands remain the economies most at risk.

The report says their official foreign reserves are below comfort level, and their balance of payments and budgets are under pressure.

With commodity prices falling, the overall economic growth in the Pacific is projected to drop by 2% to 3.1% in 2009.

The Solomon Islands faces dramatic revenue losses from reduced logging, as the financial crisis takes its toll on industry in Asia.

But the report says for Papua New Guinea a prolonged and well-managed mineral resource boom will see the nation through tough times.

As countries such as New Zealand, Australia and America face economic hardships, tourism-reliant Pacific economies also experience reduced tourists numbers.