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 31 December 2013).

In the South Pacific, only Vanuatu maintained its upward growth path in 2013, as GDP growth accelerated to 3.2% from 1.8% in 2012. Tourist arrivals rose by 2.1% overall as air arrivals recovered from declines in 2012 and cruise ship visitors increased. Agricultural production recovered slightly after declining in 2012.

Selected Economic Indicators (%) - Vanuatu 2014 2015
GDP Growth 3.5 4.0
Inflation 2.5 3.0
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) -6.0 -7.0

Source: ADB estimates.

Economic prospects

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

Growth in Vanuatu is expected to pick up to 3.5% in 2014, driven mostly by increased construction spending. A modest increase in tourist numbers is expected from the strengthening Australian and New Zealand economies. These trends are expected to continue and the economy to expand by 4.0% in 2015.

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