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Fiji Time: 4:27 PM on Tuesday 2 September

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Fuel imports up

Geraldine Panapasa
Monday, December 24, 2012

THE Pacific's fuel imports from Singapore grew by 4.7 per cent from January to August this year while prices of the Pacific's major commodity exports dropped partly because of its limited demand in the global economy.

In its Pacific Economic Monitor: December 2012 report, the Asian Development Bank said the price of coconut oil fell by a third while the price of timber declined by a tenth during the comparable period.

Unfavourable weather and production disturbances were noted as reasons for the increases in recent food prices particularly for soybeans, barley, maize and wheat.

The report also covered an economic update of Australia and New Zealand. While Australia's economy remained strong at 4.1 per cent in the first half of the year, it was driven by strong commodity exports and mining investments.

Illustrations from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show Pacific imports from Australia increased steadily since 2008 from $A1.5billion ($F2.78b) to more than $A2.2b ($F4.09b).

Pacific exports to Australia also noted a steady increase over the years from 2004-2010, a little over $A1.1b ($F2.04b) to over $A2b ($F3.71b).

There was a notable increase in 2011 with exports to Australia valued at over $2.5b before a slight drop this year.

New Zealand's economic progress in the first half of this year was marked by a strong performance in the agriculture sector and construction activity.

"The slowdown of China's economy has led to price declines for Australia's major commodity exports, coal and iron ore," the report said. "This has effectively put future mining investments on hold. The Reserve Bank of Australia has cut its policy interest rate by 100 basis points since the start of the year in an effort to boost economic growth.

"Recovery from recession and natural disasters is well underway in New Zealand and the International Monetary Fund expects growth to accelerate from 1.3 per cent in 2011 to about 2.6 per cent in 2012-2013."


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