THE Reserve Bank of Fiji is re-looking our growth forecasts because of the floods in the Western Division.
Fiji, after a two-year contraction, expanded by 2.1 per cent last year. The growth for this year has been pegged at 2.3 per cent.
"Our domestic growth forecast is broad-based with improvements expected in most economic sectors. The downside risks to this projection are expected to stem largely from the recent floods which greatly affected the livelihoods of those in the Western Division," Mr Whiteside said.
"However, this will be partly offset by necessary replanting, reconstruction and other capital infrastructure work.
"The blessing, if there is a blessing to be had in all the sadness and misery of the natural disasters, is that our tourism industry was little affected and, in addition, it is still early in the year and with a lot of hard work there is time to 'catch up'."
Mr Whiteside said our foreign reserves remained healthy at around $1.5 billion or just under five months of imports.
He said inflation had been trending downwards.
"Furthermore, bank credit has picked up and new loans in the first few months of 2012 are higher than in the comparable period last year," Mr Whiteside said. He also acknowledged the lending sectors' efforts in assisting our local community to recover from the effects of the January and March floods.