Fiji - Market OverviewFiji - Market Overview
Major Trends and Outlook
The Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) expects a tenth consecutive year of growth in 2019, but the economy is vulnerable to risks from natural disasters and external developments. Economic growth in 2019 is estimated at 3.4 percent, compared to a 3.2 percent growth in 2018.
U.S. exports to Fiji grew by 58 percent in 2018. According to U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, U.S. exports to Fiji amounted to USD $105 million in 2018, compared to USD $66.6 million in 2017. U.S. imports from Fiji declined by 0.7 percent to USD $220.8 million in 2018, compared to USD $222.3 million in 2017. The main products imported to the United States from Fiji include mineral water, tuna, and food products, including sugar. U.S. exports to Fiji were mainly transport equipment, food manufactures, machinery, chemicals, and computer/electronic components.
Principal Growth Sectors
The tourism sector remains Fiji’s principal economic driver and major source of foreign exchange. The industry contributes an estimated 30 percent of GDP. Visitor arrivals totaled 870,309 in 2018, a 3.3 percent increase compared to 2017.
Industry earnings increased by 4.5 percent in 2018. The largest growth of visitors was seen in the new markets where national airline Fiji Airways opened new routes, especially from Asia. The U.S. is Fiji’s third largest source market, accounting for 10 percent of total visitors, and contributed an estimated FJD $183.5 million (USD $86.8 million) to the Fiji economy.
Government Role in the Economy
In 2018-2019, the government’s projected net fiscal deficit is USD $196 million (FJD $414.16 million). The fiscal deficit dropped to 3.5 percent of GDP, compared to 2.0 percent in 2017-2018. The revenue forecast for 2018-2019 is USD $2.0 billion (FJD $4.24 billion), with expenditure estimated at USD $2.2 billion (FJD $4.65 billion).
The Fiji government controls essential public utilities (water and sewerage). It is the major owner in state-owned power generator and supplier, and is managing the country’s major ports under a private public partnership. The government has invested heavily in upgrading road infrastructure and bridges. Infrastructure support is fairly reliable in the urban centers, but less developed in rural Fiji.
There are numerous air and sea connections to the United States, Asia, and the Pacific Region, as well as local air and sea transport to all major centers on the larger islands in the country. Given Fiji’s heavy reliance on diesel fuel, the Fiji authorities continue to explore private sector partnerships to develop renewable energy alternatives, such as hydro, solar, and wind power.
Domestic and international telecommunication links are relatively reliable. Other service infrastructure, such as insurance, banking, accounting, local transport, investment finance, and real estate, are available in urban centers.
Fiji Trade Development and Promotion