ANZ execs give PNG positive grade

Business, Normal

PAPUA New Guinea is weathering the global economic slowdown, at the same time hitting a projected real gross domestic product (GDP) of 6.5% next year.
This was the assessment from Australia New Zealand Banking Group chief executive officer Mike Smith.
He and top ANZ executive Alex Thursby, chief executive for Asia-Pacific, Europe and America, arrived in the country yesterday on a familiarisation visit.
The two bankers met with government representatives, clients and staff before leaving this morning for Moro in the newly-created Hela province to visit the liquefied natural gas (LNG) project site.
Mr Smith has determined that the country is “weathering the global economic meltdown well, adding that he sees the country achieving a real GDP of 6.5% next year.
“We look forward to working with our clients in PNG to help them capitalise on the opportunities this presents.
“This includes the growing trade and business flows with Asia which was worth more than K3 billion in bilateral trade last year,” Mr Smith said.
Mr Thursby said the resources sector had “enormous potential”.
He said: “China is PNG’s largest trading partner, recording trade volumes of K2.3 billion in 2008.”
He said this figure was expected to rise further once production began at the Ramu nickle mine in Madang province.
“The LNG project, which is expected to have significant flow on benefits locally, will be another contributor to strong economic growth in the country.”
ANZ CEO Northwest Pacific, Vishnu Mohan said: “This visit by ANZ’s group chief executive officer and our CEO for Asia Pacific, Europe and America is a reflection of the importance ANZ places on PNG.
Mr Smith and Mr Thursby had meetings with  Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare,  Bank of PNG Governor Sir Wilson Kamit and Deputy Australian High Commissioner John Feakes.