Private vehicle registrations increased during the month

Vehicle Registrations
March 2018

  Mar 18 Feb 18
Jan 18
Dec 17

New Registrations
332 121 325 416

As a partial indicator of activities in the transportation sector, the total vehicle registrations increased over the month by 211 registrations. Majority of the increase was driven by the the increase in private vehicles such as cars, other light vehicles and heavy vehicles. Liaison with the Ministry of Infrastructure confirmed that the disruptions caused by tropical cyclone Gita to various business operations resulted in delays of vehicles registered in February and contributed to the increase in the March registrations.

The rise in vehicle registrations coincided with the increase in the number of imported vehicles recorded by the Ports Authority which rose by 215 vehicles over the month. Additionally, there were 5 more cargo vessels arriving during March compared to last month. The higher vehicle registrations over the month was consistent with a slight increase in vehicle import payments by $0.6 million to a total $2.0 million in March.

In year ended terms, the total number of vehicles registered slightly rose by 43 registrations to a total of 3,669 vehicle due to the rise in registered light vehicles, government vehicles, and heavy vehicles. These outweighed a decrease in cars and bus registrations. The annual rise in the level of vehicle registrations can be attributed to the availability of vehicles’ hire purchase, and the convenience of vehicle online purchasing. The rise in purchasing power of returning seasonal workers from abroad have also contributed to the annual rise. Moreover, the import payments for vehicles recorded in the Overseas Exchange Transactions reports slightly increased by 0.1% over the year to March 2018.

On the outlook, given that Tonga is still on the recovery phase from tropical cyclone Gita which occurred in February 2018, lower demand for vehicles is expected. Despite the progressive increase in petrol prices, the total registrations of vehicles are projected to increase in the short term supported by the advance payment for vehicles and the higher purchasing power of returning seasonal workers from Australia and New Zealand.



Vehicle Registrations - March 2018
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