Tonga’s economic growth prospects remains positive in the medium term. The level of foreign reserves is expected to remain at comfortable levels and inflation is anticipated to fall below the Reserve Bank’s inflation reference rate of 5% per annum by the end of 2018.

The Reserve Bank still expects growth in the fisheries sector to continue although growth will be subdued in 2017/18. This is based on the decline in the forecasted growth in this sector of 0.1% in 2016/17. Read more in the Marine Exports Volume for February 2018.

The total monthly remittances fluctuate on a monthly basis but has remained above $20 million since February 2016. In February 2018, remittances continued to decline by $1.4 million (5.7%) to $23.6 million yet much higher than what was recorded in the same period of previous years. Read more in the Remittances Report for February 2018.

The overall OET balance recorded a surplus of $23.9 million over the month of February 2018, reflecting the receipts of $24.3 million for cyclone relief funds. Annually, the overall OET balance recorded a higher surplus of $70.3 million. Find out more in the Overseas Exchange Transactions report for February 2018.

Total banks’ lending increased over February by $2.0 million (0.5%) and over the year by $55.0 million (14.3%). Total bank deposits increased over the month by $2.7 million (0.5%) to $577.2 million. Read more in the Banking Sector Developments report for February 2018.

The damage caused by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Gita to the agricultural sector was estimated at $129.3 million as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry (MAFF). These damages and the disruptions in economic acitivites during the month contributed to lower exports in February, which declined by 211.3 tonnes (37.4%). Read more in the Agricultural Exports Volumes report for February.

At the end of February, only six cargo vessels called at the Queen Salote International Wharf compared to eight cargo vessels in January 2018. On a monthly average, eleven cargo vessels arrived to Tonga in the past twelve months. Read the Container Registrations for February 2018.

Despite a jump in domestic prices over the month, the fall in year‐ended domestic prices have helped drive annual inflation down to 3.4% compared to an 8.9% hike in February 2017 and 6.0% last month. Read more in the Inflation report for January 2018.

Total vehicle registrations declined over the month of February 2018 by 204 registrations (62.8%), recording a total of 121 registrations. This is lower than the monthly average of the past five years. Registrations for all vehicle types declined due to the disruptions caused by Tropical Cyclone (TC) Gita. Read more in the Vehicle Registration report for February.

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.

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