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Foreign reserves remain steady at more than $2 billion

May 29, 2020 6:40 am
Economy Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [File Photo]

Despite the recent mass job losses and devastated tourism sector in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, foreign reserves are holding steady.

Economy Minister, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum whilst contributing to a motion on the annual report for the Reserve Bank of Fiji from August 2017 to July 2018, highlighted that Fiji remains financially stable.

“As at 27th of May, 2020, our foreign reserves were around $2.2 billion as sufficient to cover 6.9 months of imported goods and services. This implies Fiji’s external position remains stable at this stage despite the negative impacts of COVID-19 of course, visa the foreign exchange records we have.”

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However, Sayed-Khaiyum says other aspects of economic carnage as a result of COVID-19 has taken a hammering.

“Mr. Speaker Sir, the commercial bank liquidity as it stands currently just below $800 million so there’s no shortage of liquidity but of course there is a shortage of confidence. When you know, when there’s no demand for business, when consumer appetite is reduced. When the supply chains are affected, of course there’s less appetite for investment and of course people will borrow, borrow less.”

To this end, work with the RBF, the Economy Minister told the house will be even more critical given the foreseeable future.

“There’ll be a massive contraction in the economy. The IMF expects 9 out of 10 countries worldwide to contract and some of them will have their largest contraction ever in the last century. And again it’s very critically important to ensure that the government with its fiscal policy framework in conjunction with the RBF which rolls out the monetary policy framework.”

Meanwhile, the RBF annual report for the 2017/2018 financial year recorded a profit of $31.5 million.

Chair for the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, Vijay Nath in presenting the RBF report last night also highlighted that in 2018, tourism growth was four point six percent amounting to revenue earnings then of $838.5 million.

The motion to note the contents of the report which was initially tabled in the house on the 4th of April was passed unanimously.

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