PNG'S KINA DROPS FURTHER AGAINST U.S. DOLLAR

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 11, 1997 - PACNEWS)--- The Central Bank of Papua New Guinea reports that the exchange rate for the kina, the local currency, is at its lowest since PNG gained independence in 1975.

During the past several days, the kina has been trading at about .65 to the U.S. dollar.

The bank says the kina's fall is creating a situation of insufficient foreign currency availability among the commercial banks, mainly due to PNG's heavy reliance on imported goods, particularly rice and tea.

In addition, local market analysts say there is nervousness and concern about a national budget deficit, as committed government expenditures may exceed funds available due to the continued decline in the kina rate.

The analysts say increased inflation is likely if the price of imported items continues to increase, especially as Christmas approaches and wholesalers import in greater bulk.

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