COVID-19 impact

Warning shipping delay problems to continue this year

Digital supply chain experts project44 say average delays on shipping from China to Europe rose to 6 days in December, after falling for months.

Delays on routes from China to the west coast of the US have also been increasing steadily since October.

Congested ports and production delays have disrupted schedules for months.

"Delays are likely to continue well into 2022," project44 said, "as Covid breakouts continue throughout supply chains and consumers continue to buy at a healthy rate."

Huge Impact

Tonga petroleum prices continue to increase due to COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID impact continues to affect the petroleum prices with the average monthly Dated Brent crude oil drop in mid-March to mid-April at USD 20.87 bbl then increasing to USD41.52 (Oct 2020 average), USD 65.70 (March 2021 average) and with the July 2021 average up to USD 74.29 bbl.

The Government as a result, has made efforts to help hold down the continuous increase through a 5 seniti subsidy on the May- June petroleum pricing and a further reduction in excise duty of 10 seniti in the July – August petroleum pricing.

Tonga’s central bank maintains current monetary policy measures

The Board of Directors of the National Reserve Bank of Tonga decided to continue with the current measures at its meeting last week.

According to central bank, this is to encourage utilization of the excess liquidity in the banking system, through further lending to growth sectors and to support the economy from the impacts of COVID-19.

The monetary policy rate will be maintained at 0% (zero interest rate policy), minimum loans/deposit ratio of 80%, Statutory Reserve Deposit ratio at 10%.

Other measures are:

Report highlights Covid-19 impact on Tonga's private sector

The Pacific Business Monitor Tonga Focus 2020 Report aggregates results from respondents in Tonga across all the PTI Pacific Business Monitor surveys conducted in 2020. The report provides insight into the impact Covid-19 had on Tonga’s private sector last year, in comparison to businesses in the Pacific region.

New Caledonian businesses set for faster recovery than other Pacific Island countries

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.

Small Pacific businesses continue to feel brunt of COVID-19

The monthly survey collects data in real-time and tracks how SMEs have been riding through the socio-economic turbulence since the pandemic made contact in the region in April 2020.

Newly appointed Trade Commissioner of the Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand office, Glynis Miller said “the results are not surprising as they do reflect real challenges faced by a large majority of SMEs.”

From data gathered in January, the fiscal and emotional impact of not knowing when the crisis will abate is taking its toll.

The gendered business impact of COVID-19 in the Pacific

Over three quarters (77 percent) of female-owned/led businesses reported a significant decline in revenue in contrast to 65 percent of male-owned/led businesses.

The results were published in a women-focused report in Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) Pacific Business Monitor.

The PTI Pacific Business Monitor is a regular survey that tracks the sentiment of businesses from across the Pacific region.

New areas for Pacific investment identified in wake of COVID-19

The acting Trade Commissioner, Glynis Miller, said investment was a key driver of sustainable economic growth and the Pacific needed foreign direct investment.

The organisation said this was more important than ever given the Pacific's reliance on tourism and the way the sector had been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Investment Officer, Manuel Valdez, said Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand held a rich database of information on what he called "bankable investment projects" across several industries.

Uncertainty the key challenge facing Pacific businesses

The results have been published in the fourth  PTI Pacific Business Monitor Report.  The PTI Pacific Business Monitor is a regular survey that tracks the sentiment of businesses from across the Pacific region.

COVID-19 and its likely impact on the tuna industry in the Pacific Islands

Approximately 60 percent of the raw material for the global tuna canning market comes from the WCPO. There are two reasons why COVID-19’s impact on the tuna industry should be monitored.

First, shelf-stable foods, such as canned tuna, have taken on a new level of significance for food security. Second, Pacific island countries are dependent on revenues from the licensing of fishing vessels.