ECONOMY ACHIEVES PEAK GROWTH, SAYS FIJI RESERVE BANK

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (April 13, 2000 – Fiji’s Daily Post/Abridged)---Last year Fiji is estimated to have hit its highest growth rate in a decade, according to the Reserve Bank of Fiji's 1999 Annual Report.

It is estimated that Fiji's economy grew by about 7.8 percent.

According to the bank, the strong rebound in economic performance was largely driven by a recovery in the sugar sector.

The buoyant tourism industry, increased production of garments, gold and the favorable economic conditions abroad all contributed to the growth.

The two objectives of monetary policy -- to obtain a low inflation rate and adequate foreign reserves – also were achieved last year.

Inflation is a general increase in prices in an economy and consequent fall in the purchasing value of money.

The report said inflation in the year to December 1999 was 0.2 percent.

It was noted that government's initiatives contributed to this favorable condition. For consumers, this included a reduction in duty on some essential consumer items and decreases in electricity costs and international telecommunication charges.

However, all these were offset by a rise in domestic fuel prices and an increase in import tariffs.

Higher duty on alcoholic drinks and tobacco also resulted in higher prices towards the end of the year.

Imports picked up strongly in 1999 in line with stronger domestic spending.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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