Papua New Guinea’s import levels dropped, economist says


DOMESTIC import levels have dropped in recent years due to the end of certain project phases and the availability of foreign exchange, an economist says.
ANZ Banking Group chief economist Richard Yetsenga said this while doing a presentation on a range of global economic topics relevant to the extractive industries sector in PNG.
“Export growth has remained reasonably (stable) while imports have contracted as economic growth in Papua New Guinea has slowed particularly as the investment cycle has slowed,” Yetsenga said.
“At least partly because some large investment phases around projects were completed and foreign currency has been more constrained causing imports to drop in three consecutive years by a total of around 50 per cent.
“Other countries that participated in the commodity boom had similar patterns to trade all but with the decline in imports perhaps accentuated here potentially because of the currency effect.
“With one third of export earnings coming from mining, the importance of commodities to the PNG economy is very clear.”
Yetsenga also noted the economic potential PNG had and that effective strategies had to be chosen for it to be realised.
“Natural resources, biodiversity, favourable demographics and geographic proximity to major population centres suggest that there are no shortages of opportunities for Papua New Guinea. The speed and pervasiveness of technological change suggests plenty of chances as well,” he said
“How PNG positions itself in the global investment landscape will have a substantial impact on outcomes here. PNG’s choices will very much determine its future.”