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PNG Gas to push regional GDP

A RAMPING up of natural gas exports in Papua New Guinea is expected to push the Pacific region’s average GDP growth to 10.7 per cent this year, a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) report says.
ADB’s annual economic publication, Asian Development Outlook 2015 (ADO) noted that most economies across the Pacific were expected to perform better this year due to favourable domestic and external conditions.
“While most Pacific economies enjoy positive outlooks, recent disasters brought on by climatic events highlight the importance of increasing resilience to shocks across the Pacific,” said Xianbin Yao, director general of ADB’s Pacific Department.
In PNG, the sub-region’s largest economy, the first full year of liquefied natural gas exports were expected to drive GDP growth to 15 per cent this year and was expected to fall back to 5 per cent next year.
ADB said policymakers needed to ensure that the benefits of growth were shared widely to reduce poverty and reduce inequality.
In Timor-Leste growth was expected to slow to 6.2 per cent this year but recover to 6.6 per cent in 2016 if major investments proceed as planned.
Fiji recorded broad-based growth in 2014 as expansionary fiscal and monetary policy continued to boost consumption and investment, and tourism and agriculture performed well.
The Solomon Islands economy contracted slightly in 2014 following severe flooding in April. Recovery spending will likely bring back growth in 2015, and the expansion will be further boosted by foreign investment in 2016.
The South Pacific economies of Cook Islands, Samoa, and Tonga are all expected to experience faster economic growth this year, which would then slow somewhat in 2016.
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