However, the report warns that growth in the Pacific is expected to fall to about 5% in 2016, as the one-off boost from the first full-year of PNG’s natural gas exports dissipates.
“Cyclone Pam and Typhoon Maysak again highlight the vulnerability of Pacific economies to disaster risks, which are the highest in the world,’ said Xianbin Yao, Director General of ADB’s Pacific Department.
“At the same time, the first full-year of natural gas exports from Papua New Guinea, along with strong tourism activity in Fiji and Palau, are seen to sustain growth across the Pacific at close to a double-digit rate in 2015.”
Double-digit declines in the value of PNG’s exports of crude petroleum and manufactured goods offset higher gold exports.
Gold accounted for almost 73% of PNG’s exports to Australia during the period.
Pacific non-fuel imports from Australia decreased by 26.4% in the January–April 2015 period compared with January–April 2014, largely driven by PNG’s reduced machinery purchases.
The ADB expects growth outside of the mining and petroleum sectors to pick up in 2015, supported by increased public investments in energy and transport infrastructure as well as new sports facilities, which should support recovery in the construction sector.
The transport and logistics sector is also seen to benefit from low fuel costs associated with international oil prices.
Non-mineral exports from agriculture, forestry, and fishery are expected to grow in 2015 with a depreciating kina and reduced transport costs despite soft international agricultural prices.
However, the report warns that growth forecasts for PNG and Timor-Leste—the region’s largest energy exporters—are unchanged for now and downward adjustments are likely if low global oil prices persist.