RBF reports $31.5m profit; Says Government on track for 3.2 per cent growth

THE Reserve Bank of Fiji reported an audited profit of $31.5 million for the 2017-18 financial year despite being faced with a challenging year of low investment yields on the global stage.

A statement from the central bank yesterday said the bank transferred a total of $32.5m to Government, of which $30.5m was from the bank’s profit and $2.0m from the Revaluation Reserve Account (RRA) and that the RBF Board with the approval of the Minister for Economy also transferred $1.0m to the General Reserve Accounts to strengthen its capital base.

The RBF’s August 2017–July 2018 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament yesterday by acting Prime Minister and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

According to the statement, the annual report stated that the RBF has continued to effectively achieve its key objectives of low inflation and maintaining a sufficient level of foreign reserves.

It said inflation averaged 3.1 per cent in the financial year, peaking at 4.7 per cent in July 2018 because of the impact of tropical cyclones (Josie and Keni) and the upswing in global crude oil prices.

The annual report also stated that there were increased payments for mineral fuel because of rising global crude oil prices and overall rise in import payments on the back of a buoyant economy.

“Nevertheless, at the end of July 2018, the level of foreign reserves remained stable at around $2.2 billion, sufficient to cover 5.0 months of retained imports of goods and non-factor services.

“Given the positive outlook, the Reserve Bank maintained an accommodative monetary policy stance throughout the 2017-2018 financial year,” it said.

RBF governor Ariff Ali in his report highlighted that Fiji’s economy was on track to grow for the ninth consecutive year with growth for 2018 estimated at 3.2 per cent.

Mr Ali said this outturn was largely driven by an expanding global economy, robust domestic demand conditions reflected in upbeat consumption and investment activities along with support from accommodative monetary and fiscal policies.

Major sectors underpinning this growth are the wholesale and retail trade, accommodation and food services, public administration and defence and the construction sectors.

Mr Ali also stated in the annual report that the RBF would be completing the implementation of majority of its strategic outcomes under the Bank’s 2014-2018 Strategic Plan and has now embarked on the formulation of a new Strategic Plan for 2019 to 2024.