The Reserve Bank expects growth for the fisheries sector to decline in 2017/18 following a vibrant performance in 2016/17. This is due to lower foreign vessels registered to fish the Tongan waters, and adverse weather effects. Read more in the Marine Exports Volume for January 2018.

Remittances decreased over the month by $8.5 million (25.4%) to $25.1 million yet much higher than what was recorded in the same period of previous years. The monthly trend was driven by a decline in all categories of remittances with the exception of private capital transfers. Read more in the Remittances Report for January 2018.

An overall surplus of $1.6 million was recorded over the month of January 2018 compared to a $2.3 million deficit in December 2017. As a result, the official foreign reserves rose to $424.1 million, equivalent to 7.7 months of import cover. Find out more in the Overseas Exchange Transactions report for January 2018.

Developments among Tonga’s major trading partners remained largely positive. Both Australia and New Zealand reported their GDP growth of 2.7% and 2.9% respectively for the year ended to December 2017. For Australia, public investment and trade supported economic growth whilst for New Zealand, the services industries drove economic growth.

Total volume of agricultural exports continued to fall over the month of January 2018 by 97.1 tonnes (14.7%) to a total of 565.2 tonnes. This is a similar trend to previous years where agricultural exports starts slow in the year and could also be attributed to seasonality. Read more in the Agricultural Exports Volumes report for January.

Total banks’ lending increased slightly over January by $0.8 million (0.2%) and annually by $55.3 million (14.5%).  Total bank deposits increased over the month by $3.2 million (0.6%) to $574.5 million, due solely to a significant rise in term deposits of $12.6 million (5.1%). Read more in the Banking Sector Developments report for January 2018.

The total containers that were registered in January 2018 declined by 531 (42.3%), reflecting the usual trend at the beginning of the year following the festive season of December. This continued to reflect the seasonality of activities in the trade sector. Read the Container Registrations for January 2018

The total volume of agricultural exports significantly fell by 2,022.7 tonnes (75.3%) to a total of 662.2 tonnes in December 2017. This reflects the usual trend for the agricultural exports in December of every year, yet recorded above average agricultural exports of 500 tonnes in comparison to December of the last five years. Read more in the Agricultural Exports Volumes report for December.

Tonga’s major trading partners experienced varying levels of growth throughout February. The US financial markets recorded a slump in the stock markets which was driven by a change in the investors’ risk appetite and temporarily affecting developments in the US economy.

Inflation rose over the month by 1.0% as both domestic and imported commodity prices increased during the month. The local component of inflation was mainly driven by the seasonality of local food and a further rise in the price of kava-Tonga. Read more in the Inflation report for December 2017.

The total exported marine products continued to fall over the month by 20.5 metric tons (40.3%). The monthly trend for December followed a high volume of exported tuna in October 2017 before decreasing in the last two months of 2017. Read more in the Marine Exports Volume for December 2017.

Total international arrivals continued to follow the usual trend to record the highest air arrival in December every year as people come from abroad to spend Christmas and new year with families here in Tonga. Total international arrivals increased by 3,826 passengers (41.5%), which was attributed to a 5,347 increase in air arrival visitors. Read more in the International Arrivals and Departures report for December 2017.

The total international arrivals declined over the month by 1,346 (12.8%) passengers, of which 60.1% were visitors and the remainder were returning residents. This is a typical trend for months with less activities in the tourism sector to attract tourists. Read more in the International Arrivals and Departures report for November 2017.

The total number of new vehicles registered in November 2017 decreased by 55 registrations (16.7%) to a total of 274 vehicles compared to a total of 329 registered last month. The decline in the total number of vehicle registrations was due to a fall in all vehicle categories registered during the month. Read more in the Vehicle Registration report for November.

New vehicles registered in December 2017 markedly increased by 51.8% from a total of 274 registrations recorded last month. All categories rose except for the registration of government vehicles.Read more in the Vehicle Registration report for December.

In December 2017, the total Overseas Exchange Transaction (OET) receipts rose by $14.2 million (25.89%) to $69.3 million. This was attributed mainly to higher remittances and private capital transfer receipts. Find out more in the Overseas Exchange Transactions report for December 2017.

While the outlook is promising in the years ahead as projected by the Reserve Bank in its August 2017 Monetary Policy Statement, this growth outlook is affected by the Tropical Cyclone Gita. The level of foreign reserves is also expected to remain at comfortable levels supported by expected higher receipts of remittances and foreign aid. 

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