Latest wave of COVID-19 infections to impact on Fiji's economy: central bank

2021-04-29 10:06:19 GMT2021-04-29 18:06:19(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

SUVA, April 29 (Xinhua) -- The latest wave of COVID-19 infections in Fiji will impact on its economy and the tourism sector that accounts for around 38 percent of the Pacific island nation's gross domestic product (GDP), said the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) on Thursday.

The central bank said in a statement that the latest wave of COVID-19 infections in Fiji will add to the near-term economic uncertainty and likely delay the resumption of tourist activity.

RBF Governor Ariff Ali said that domestically, Fiji's economic activity remains weak due to the lackluster output in key sectors as well as the contraction in consumption and investment activity.

He said that weak labor market situation persists despite the ongoing support from the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) and the government via a COVID-19 unemployment scheme.

Liquidity remains high at 1,497.6 million Fijian dollars (about 737.1 million U.S. dollars) and interest rates have remained relatively lower over the year, he said, adding that headline inflation returned to negative 1.2 percent in March, underlined by lower food, alcohol, and soft drink prices.

Fiji's foreign exchange reserve level continues to be assessed as adequate, and currently stands at 2,781.6 million Fijian dollars (about 1369.1 million U.S. dollars).

The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected Fiji's economy which contracted by 19 percent last year.

Fiji's Health Ministry has confirmed that the B1617 variant of the COVID-19 virus first reported in India was detected in Fiji in recent days.

Fiji has so far reported 116 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 49 active cases, 65 recoveries and two deaths. It recorded its first confirmed case in March 2020. Enditem