WESPAC BANK PREDICTS TOUGH YEAR FOR FIJI

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Mar. 31) – The Westpac Bank has warned that Fiji faces a tough year ahead with low economic growth and inflationary pressures from a higher oil price.

Westpac treasurer Robert Barnes says a period of stagflation should be expected.

This is a combination of stagnant economic growth and high inflation.

Mr Barnes says Fiji’s economy was already dented by higher oil prices last year and the pattern is set to be repeated, resulting in a decline in consumer spending.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has already said that this year’s inflation rate will be revised upwards from 3.8 percent to 4.5 percent if the authorities grant increases in bus and tax fares which are under consideration.

April 1, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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