Primary sector slowed down in March 2024 in comparison to previous month. Activities in the industrial sector remained upbeat given the ongoing implementation of both public and private projects. The service sector showed mixed outcomes in March 2024.

 February 2023’s remittance receipts continued to decline by $0.1 million (0.4%) to $37.5 million. Funds received from private transfer and compensation of employees drove the overall monthly decline with declines of $0.7 million (2.1%) and $0.2 million (6.9%) respectively.

The expected recovery for the Tongan economy in FY2022/23 is to continue even with the continuing impact of the invasion of Ukraine and global slow down. Imports are projected to strengthen in line with the economic recovery, while remittance receipts and inflows from donor funds return to pre-pandemic levels.

The Overseas Exchange Transactions (OET) recorded an overall surplus of $33.6 million in December 2021 compared to the $26.9 million surplus in November 2021.  This stemmed mostly from increases in net transfer receipts and income, offsetting the widening trade and services deficits.

Credit growth is expected to remain subdued in the near term, while non-performing loans is projected to rise for businesses and households' housing and personal loans. These are mostly driven by the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, weak investment appetite, and softening aggregate demand.

 Similar to previous years, remittance receipts peaked in December in line with the Christmas holidays. Remittance receipts hit a new monthly high of $51.9 million, which was $10.4 million (24.9%) higher than the previous month. The significant rise in private transfer receipts drove the monthly rise in remittance receipts.

Electricity Consumption & Production for 2015




June 2018

Released on 7 September 2018 | Download the complete release | pdfIcon 169 KB

  Jun 18
May 18
Apr 18
Mar 18

1,046 941 1,032 539
547 550 432 492
477 496 509 540

Total container registrations remained high over the month

As a partial indicator for the trade sector, the number of containers indicated strong trade activites over the month as it remained high. The total container registrations slightly declined over the month by 22 containers (2.1%) driven by a 3.8% and 0.5% fall in private and business containers respectively. This is also higher than the monthly average of 877 containers in the past five years. The number of business containers reflected the continued busy season in Tonga as annual church conferences continued and preparations for the Heilala Festival. Containers that arrived on cargo vessels from Australia, United States and Japan decreased over the month and outweighed the increase in containers from Indonesia and New Zealand.

Similarly, total payment for imports (excluding oil) slightly declined over the month by $0.6 million (1.8%) coinciding with the decline in total container registrations. This was due to a decline in payment for wholesale & retail imports of $4.9 million (19.8%), which outweighed a rise in payments for miscellaneous goods (such as electrical infrastructure materials and medical goods) of $2.9 million, construction imports and motor vehicles of $0.8 million and $0.2 million respectively.

Over the year to June 2018, the total container registrations rose by 857 containers (7.9%). Both business and private containers increased by 484 (8.5%) and 373 (7.2%) respectively indicating a rise in the informal distribution sector and a vibrant trade sector. This supports the Reserve banks’ expectation that the trade sector will grow by 2.0% in 2017/18. It is also consistent with a $22.0 million (7.0%) rise in import payments (excluding oil) as a result of higher payments for the import of wholesale & retail goods and miscellaneous goods (such as electrical infrastructure materials, medical, and technological goods).

The Reserve Bank expects imports and consequently container registrations to generally increase in the near term coinciding with the growing demand for construction. On-going construction projects and new private residential constructions are anticipated to contribute to the rise. The excise tax and import duty exemptions on food items, clothes, beds and building materials in the wake of TC Gita is expected to increase the in-kind assistance from families abroad. Hence, the total number of imported containers is expected to rise in the upcoming months. Spill over effects on the trade, tourism, construction sectors and other sectors in the economy are also anticipated.

Container Registrations Releases

Fuel Prices for 2015

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Fuel Prices Archives

July 2018

Released on 12 September 2018 | Download the complete release | pdfIcon 239 KB

  Jul 18 Jun 18 May 18
Apr 18

Headline * 6.1 5.9 9.4 9.6
Domestic ^ 2.6 2.0 5.6 5.8
Imported ^ 3.5 3.9 3.8 3.8

* Year-ended growth
^ Percentage point contribution to year-ended growth

Lower prices in the base year pushed the headline inflation upward

Monthly Inflation

The monthly headline inflation rate continued to decline over the month of July 2018 by 0.1% following a negative 2.5% in June 2018. This was largely attributed to favorable movements in the prices of both local and imported food over the month which outweighed a rise in various imported commodities. Consequently, the domestic component of inflation contributed a negative 0.4 percentage point to the monthly inflation rate which offset a 0.3 percentage point contribution from the imported component of inflation.

Domestic Prices

Over the month of July 2018, movements in the domestic prices was particularly on the local food items which decreased by 1.8% and drove the domestic prices lower by 0.9%. The continued increase in supply of local vegetables and fruits recorded a 4.8% decline in its prices and accounted for a negative 0.5 percentage point contribution. The prices of tomatoes, head cabbages, capsicum, pineapple, carrots and green coconuts had lower prices over the month. This outweighed an increase in the prices of meat, fish & poultry like eggs, tuna, octopus and cockles.

Imported Prices

The monthly imported inflation rose over the month by 0.6% due to an increase in the prices of tobacco and fuel. Upward revisions to the excise tax on imported tobacco drove its price higher by 6.8%, and contributed 0.3 percentage points to the monthly headline inflation. Additionally, the continued rise in fuel prices recorded a 1.4% rise in both prices of diesel and petrol. Movements in the prices of imported food was overall favorable in July. The removal of excise tax on chicken pieces drove its price lower by 7.1%. In addition, the decline in pices of imported fruits, vegetables and sugar was sufficient to outweigh the increase in prices of cereal products and dairy products like butter and margarine. A new excise tax was introduced on margarine and butter which contributed to the rise in its price.

Annual Inflation

Although the monthly inflation rate slightly declined over July 2018, the annual headline inflation increased to 6.1% from a 5.9% recorded last month. This was attributed to lower commodity prices in July 2017 compared to the current period. Therefore, the domestic component of inflation contributed 2.6 percentage points (increasing from 2.0 percentage points in June 2018) to the overall annual headline inflation rate while the imported component recorded a fall in its contribution (from 3.9 percentage points in the year to June 2018) to 3.5 percentage points in year ended July 2018.

Domestic Prices

Despite the continued favorable movement in the prices of local fruits and vegetables over the month, it reflects otherwise when compared to July 2017. As a result, the annual domestic inflation rate has increased to 6.2% compared to a 4.5% last month and 7.4% in July 2017 (Figure 4). The food category remained the highest contributor to the annual domestic inflation rate with 1.7 percentage points compared to 1.3 percentage points in June 2018. These are due to higher prices in agricultural crops, fish, and pastries (Table 1). The second highest contributor to the annual local inflation rate was the price of kava-Tonga with a 45.4% increase over the year and a 0.9 percentage points contribution. Other local goods which also increased included house maintenance goods and household furniture, furnishing & textiles. These outweighed the annual decline in public transportation and communication services.

Imported Prices

The annual imported inflation rate slowed to 6.0% in July 2018 after recording a 6.9% in June 2018 (Figure 5). Imported food prices continued to be the largest contributor which rose by 4.8% and contributed 1.4 percentage points to the overall annual headline inflation. From the food group, the dairy products category had the highest increase of 8.6%, followed by a 5.5% and 5.4% from the categories of meat, fish & poultry and other food components respectively. This outweighed a decline in the prices of fruits, vegetables and cereal products. Movements in the global price of meat and the excise tax on dairy products drove prices higher. The second highest contributor was a 1.3 percentage points from fuel which rose over the year by 17.3%. The cost of diesel and petrol increased over the year by 21.7% and 17.1% respectively. The high fuel prices were due to higher world oil prices which flow through to local oil prices with a lag of 1-2 months.

Additionally, imported tobacco and alcohol contributed 0.6 percentage points to the overall headline inflation mostly due to the increase in the price of tobacco. This was partly driven by the further increase in excise tax on tobacco that was introduced in July 2018. The price of Winfield blue rose over the year to June 2018 by 12.5%. Clothing supplies also increased by 5.2%. Household operation goods and services increased by 1.6% which included various goods such as kerosene, liquid petroleum gas, portable radio player and kitchenware. These outweighed the decline in the price of stationery supplies, medical health services and supplies and house maintenance goods.


The Reserve Bank expects the annual headline inflation rate to fall to its 5% reference rate by the end of 2018 due to expectations that the prices of commodities will stabilize on an annual basis. However, adverse movements in global oil and food prices may change this outlook. Additionally, the vulnerability of Tonga to natural disasters also poses a risk to the local food supply and consequently its prices and the inflation outlook. According to the latest Climate Update1 from the Tonga Meteorological Service, rainfall is forecasted to be average to below average for Tonga in the near term which will be unfavourable for the local food supply.

1 - Issued on 7th August 2018

Inflation Releases

June 2018

Released on 5 October 2018 | Download the complete release | pdfIcon 148 KB

  Jun 18
May 18
Apr 18
Mar 18

New Registrations
301 391 246 332

Decline in taxi, rental and cars registrations pushed total vehicle registrations lower

The total vehicle registrations declined over the month of June by 90 registrations (23.0%), recording a total of 301 registrations. This is higher than the monthly average of 231 vehicles in the past five years. After the high number of registered taxis & rentals and cars last month, it contributed to the lower number of total registrations in June 2018. As a result, the registration of  taxis & rentals and cars declined by 50 and 47 registrations respectively. However, the registrations of other vehicle types such as government and heavy vehicles slightly increased over the month.

Import payments for vehicles however rose over the month by $0.2 million (13.4%) coinciding with a rise in new commitment loans for vehicle by $0.2 million in June 2018 which may indicate a continued strong demand for vehicles.

Over the year to June 2018, the total number of vehicles registered declined by 11 (0.3%) registrations. The decline in the registration cars and other light vehicles, motorcycles and buses outweighed a rise in registration of heavy vehicles, government, taxis and rental vehicles. However, the payments for the import of vehicles recorded in the Overseas Exchange Transactions reports declined by $1.7 million (8.1%) over the year to June 2018. This reflects the popularity of people going overseas and buy their vehicles or receiving it as a form of gift from family members abroad.

Vehicle registrations are projected to increase in the near term. This is supported by the return of seasonal workers from Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, locals’ preference for second hand cars ordered online from Japan is expected to remain high as the price is cheaper and the road conditions in Tonga are improving. Accordingly, the Reserve Bank’s liaison program reflects that the number of car dealers and vehicle businesses are increasing. These would support more imports of vehicles in the future. 

Vehicle Registrations Releases

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