ADB SAYS TONGA ECONOMIC GROWTH SLOWEST IN PACIFIC

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Less than 1 percent growth anticipated for 2012

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, April 16, 2012) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) says it is expecting Tonga’s economic outlook to turn around from last year’s slump.

The principal economist from the ADB’s Pacific Department says last year Tonga was the only Pacific country to experience a contraction in growth.

Emma Veve says the bank is forecasting a better year with a prediction of a small growth in economic output for this year and next.

"Government has been very active in trying to consolidate its fiscal situation. It’s well aware of the need to bring down debt and has been working very closely with its development partners to come up with appropriate policy actions to address the difficulties that the economy has been experiencing."

The ADB predicts growth of 0.4 percent for Tonga this year, the lowest of Pacific countries surveyed.

The 14 nation table is topped by Timor-Leste with growth of 10 percent expected, and a regional outlook of 6 percent of GDP.

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