South Pacific economies still depend on tourism earnings and public infrastructure spending funded by development partners. Growth slowed in 2013, but is expected to pick up in the near term as infrastructure spending rises in most of these economies.

Economic performance

Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) generally weakened in the South Pacific in Fiscal Year 2013 (ended 30 June 2013).

Growth in Tonga slowed to 0.3% from 0.8% in FY2012 with the withdrawal of the stimulus arising from construction financed by development partners, and continuing declines in private commercial lending.

Selected Economic Indicators (%) - Tonga 2014 2015
GDP Growth 1.5 2.0
Inflation 2.0 2.0
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) -3.7 -3.2

Source: ADB estimates.

Economic prospects

Tourism and public infrastructure spending are seen to continue driving growth in the South Pacific in FY2014 and FY2015.

Tonga is expected to rebound in FY2014, and growth of 1.5% is forecast as the development partner-financed airport runway upgrade proceeds in earnest. Response to the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Ian, which hit Tonga’s Ha’apai islands in January 2014, is expected to trigger additional economic activity through development partner-financed reconstruction and increased remittances in response to lost livelihoods. Stimulus from rehabilitation is expected to carry over into FY2015 and boost growth to 2.0%.

Source: ADB. 2014. Asian Development Outlook 2014. Manila.