PTI New Zealand Trade Commissioner Glynis Miller said the recent release of the New Caledonia focussed report found that while the pandemic had impacted New Caledonia, the proportion of businesses in New Caledonia that were fully operational at the end of 2020 was significantly higher with 94% compared to 34% for the rest of the Pacific.
Miller commented that the heavy reliance of other Pacific nations on tourism compared with New Caledonia could account for this fact.
“While New Caledonia is certainly a desired tourist destination, they also have a diversified portfolio of other industries contributing to their GDP including being the fifth largest producer of nickel in the world.”
One major impediment faced by New Caledonia which appears to have impacted them more than the rest of the Pacific is limitations placed on access to freight. Freight shipping costs have continued to rise since the start of the pandemic with freight cost to both Europe and the US increasing by 100 per cent.
“Our report shows that at the end of 2020, 96% of New Caledonian businesses found the challenges of getting access to freight – air and sea to increase exponentially between when we initiate the report to the recent few months, going from 72% to 94%.
“New Caledonian businesses are responding by reducing operational costs and in the latter part of 2020 pivoted their businesses to have greater online presence.
“All of these actions show New Caledonia to be in a good frame of mind at the end of 2020 with a jump in confidence that their businesses would survive the Covid-19 crisis and we have seen in the report that they expect to return to usual revenue levels earlier than the Pacific Islands overall.
The PTI report also showed that the by the end of 2020, the revenue of nearly a third of businesses in New Caledonia had already returned to pre-Covid-19 levels and 38 % expect to return by the end of 2021.
Miller said that all of this is extremely positive for New Caledonia.
The PTI Network Business Monitor survey series continues this month with Wave 13 – April survey now open for businesses to complete.
“The consistent information we have been receiving from Pacific businesses translates into strong empirical evidence supporting the anecdotal feedback we have been receiving from the Pacific during this period of extreme crisis.
“It allows us to present quantitative data to our partners and members when we are advocating for stronger support for the Pacific private sector.”
The PTI Network has also released an overall 2020 Pacific Business Monitor report. The full year report shows key insights from a year’s worth of data collected from micro, small and medium enterprises in the Pacific.
Miller said that as we head further into 2021, the information provided by Blue Pacific businesses to the PTI Network not only assists us in our advocacy of the region to key decision makers but provides these countries with data they can use in making everyday decisions
Photo file Noumea, New Caledonia