Asia-Pacific: PNG, East Timor grew fastest

Papua New Guinea Highland
While conserving its traditions, Papua New Guinea has speeded up its economic development

Papua New Guinea (PNG) and East Timor were the fastest growing economies Asia-Pacific in 2012 due to high-volume resources exports and other factors, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in a release on March 26.

PNG registered a 9.2 per cent growth in 2012, thanks to its expanding construction, transport, finance and retail trade sectors, the recovery in the mining sector, the building of a liquefied natural gas project plus pipeline that boosted consumption, as well as increased government spending. But falling oil output and lower farm production curbed growth.

The ADB also said it was impressed with the way in which Papua New Guinea is implementing some of the major infrastructure development programmes the bank has been funding with soft loans to the government.

ADB’s vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, Stephen Groff said the bank has invested some $700 million in roads and bridges, wharves, hydro-power and improvements to PNG’s border development programme and the implementation was well exectued.

East Timor’s GDP rose 10.6 per cent in 2012 mostly driven by higher government spending. Favourable coffee harvest boosted non- petroleum exports by 10.9 per cent, but petroleum revenues declined, the ADB said in its country analysis. The country is benefiting from oil exports that have increased the value of its sovereign wealth fund to about $10 billion.