ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK REPORTS SOLOMON ISLANDS HIT HARD BY ASIAN FINANCIAL CRISIS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (May 5, 1999 - PACNEWS)---An Asian Development Bank (ADB) report says the Solomon Islands economy was the country hardest hit by the Asian financial crisis in all the Pacific.

The ADB report, released last week, said the Solomon Islands economy shrunk by 10 percent in 1998.

Solomon Islands log receipts through 1997 accounted for more than half of the country's foreign earnings, but log exports plummeted during 1998. Most buyers were from east Asian countries.

However, Central Bank of the Solomon Islands Governor Ric Hou downplayed the effects of the Asian crisis before departing for the annual ADB meeting in Manila.

Hou said his country only felt indirect repercussions of the Asian crisis.

He blamed a lack of prioritizing debt settlements by previous governments as the main reason for the country’s large debt problems.

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