September 19 - October 6, 2012The latest round of economic surveys focused on the outer islands and included the provinces of Tafea, Shefa, Malampa and Sanma. The surveys were conducted during the period of September 19– October 6 2012. The survey focused on key sectors such as agriculture, industry, tourism, retail and wholesale, real estate and cooperatives.
Individuals, businesses, and other organisations that participated in the survey were assured prior to meetings that the confidentiality of information supplied would be used for the purpose of the survey. What follows is a summary of these meetings with the intention of providing an overall overview on specific sector developments1. While Treasury’s evaluation of the overall economic outlook is informed by findings from these surveys, a much wider range of information and data is used to ensure a rigorous assessment of the Vanuatu economy.
The overall assessment points to a gradual pick-up in economic activities in the second half of the year mainly. Improvement is noticeable in the services sector particularly tourism related activities; while moderation is expected in the agriculture sector given the decline in copra price. The industry sector mainly construction activities are expected to continue to remain low. Reports shows on going replanting of coconut and coco seedlings (particularly in Santo, Malekula and other islands of the Northern provinces) and indications are that more and more farmers are interested to engage in such activities. However, over the medium term, there are concerns that the decline in copra price could result in reducing disposable income in the rural areas. Developments in fishing activities are under-utilised while export logging activities remain low following weak demand in the export markets.
The reinstatement of the Brisbane route to Luganville resulted in the pick up in tourism arrivals and expectation to reach its full peak in the medium term. Retail trade performance in the northern islands according to business owners has been mixed; and there are indications of a decline in spending powers due to a decline in the copra price, lacking big investments and increasing competition across the services sectors2. In the southern province, services hold up by steady or improved price of coffee, increasing number of cruise ships, improved road conditions and a positive impact from the RSE schemes.
Down the full report below