Samoa's economic decline gathers pace

Samoa's national Gross Domestic Product (or G.D.P.) contracted by 4.2 per cent in the March quarter, official figures show.

The contraction of the country’s total economic output this quarter is only the second period of negative growth to be recorded by economists since June 2018. 

It follows a decline of 3.7 per cent in the December quarter of last year when compared to the year before.

The figures are contained in a Samoa Bureau of Statistics finance report on G.D.P. issued on Tuesday.

“Aggregate G.D.P. in real terms amounted to $486.7 million, the lowest quarterly outturn to be achieved in the last seven consecutive quarters,” the report read. 

“The weak performance by the economy was to be expected considering the decline in economic activities mainly due to the measles outbreak continuing on into the earlier part of the reviewed quarter as well as the declaration of the nation’s State of Emergency in response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic towards the end of March 2020.

“As a result, activity in the tertiary, secondary and primary industries fell 0.7 per cent, 16.6 per cent and 8.1 per cent respectively in the March 2020 quarter.”

The Gross Domestic Product for the March 2020 Quarter at constant 2013 prices amounted to $486.7 million, or a decline of some 4.2 per cent when compared to the same period the year before. 

“The decrease was mainly influenced by the unfavourable performance by industries such as construction and food and beverage manufacturing,” the report said. 

Construction was found to be one of the most significant contributors to economic decline in the March 2020 quarter. It contracted by 15.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis.

“Food and beverage manufacturing recorded a decrease of 24.2 per cent while personal and other services declined by 23.4 per cent in the period under review.

“Commerce went down by 1.7 per cent followed by Business Services and Transport with decreases of 15.4 per cent and 14.6 per cent respectively. However, positive growths achieved by communication[s], financial services and ownership of dwellings were not strong enough to counter the negative impact experienced by many industries which contracted within the reviewed period.”

Samoa’s economic headwinds follow a global coronavirus-led economic downturn which has led to significant job losses and stimulus spending in major economies across the globe. 

New Zealand's gross domestic product fell 1.6 per cent in the March 2020 quarter, according to information released by that country’s statics bureau last quarter. 

But the country’s economy is expected to experience a double-digit fall in the June quarter as the full impact of the coronavirus restrictions are felt. 


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