APIA: 28 Sept 2009 – Samoa’s economy is picking up momentum while inflation is on the way down according to the Central Bank. In a media statement following its monthly board meeting, Central Bank Governor Leasi Tommy Scanlan said the balance of payments recorded an overall surplus of 7 million tala, compliments of a continued strong growth in revenues from tourism, increased export earnings, a steady inflow of remittances and a reduction in imports.
Samoa’s foreign exchange reserves as of last month rose to a very comfortable level of $321 million which is equivalent to six and a half months of imports, up from 5 months of imports in August last year.
The statement identified the construction industry and infrastructural developments as other contributing factors to the growth. Improvements in Australia also helped Yazaki Samoa rehire staff and continue production. The inflation rate is down to 12.9 percent and the downward trend is expected to continue according to the Central Bank. Governor Leasi Scanlan also acknowledged the on going decline in interest rates for deposits and lending commercial banks, with funds available for lending standing at $127 million last month. The Central Bank has also agreed to maintain the Banks easing monetary policy stance and work closely with partners in the financial system, particularly the commercial banks to further stimulate the demand for credit and private sector investments to enhance economic growth.