Rise in vehicles

NEW vehicle registrations rose considerably by 88.0 per cent in February of this year while second-hand vehicles registrations recovered by 5.0 per cent after contracting in 2017.

This was highlighted by partial consumption indicators in the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) Economic Review for March released this week.

New vehicle registrations by the Land Transport Authority also grew annually by 8.7 per cent in 2017 while second-hand vehicle registrations had declined by 30.2 per cent, a slowdown from the respective growth of 27.5 per cent and 7.8 per cent in 2016.

As of July last year, as many as 113,587 vehicles were registered with the LTA in July last year bring about 80,000 private vehicles on our roads during this period.

But a factsheet from LTA released earlier this year had stated that there was a 21 per cent decline in the number of motor vehicles registered with the Land Transport Authority for the first seven months of 2016 and 2017.

It revealed that a total of 6925 motor vehicles were registered between January to July of 2017 compared with 8721 in 2016 where private vehicles made up about 70 per cent of all new registrations. The increase ownership in Fiji could be attributed to the reduction in duty on vehicles apart from consumer demand and consumption trends.

While this may raise the problems of traffic congestion, several capital projects have been initiated by Government to possibly mitigate this, such as widening of roads and the four-lane road projects.

Aggregate demand also remained firm in February as suggested by partial consumption and investment indicators.

Consumption activity was robust with net value added tax collections rising by 15.0 per cent cumulative to February.

Similarly, commercial banks’ new lending for consumption purposes rose by 16.3 per cent led by higher lending to the wholesale, retail, hotels and restaurants (18.5 per cent) sector.

Looking ahead, buoyant consumption activity is expected as revealed by the sales projections in the RBF’s December 2017 Retail Sales Survey.

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