One quarter of Pacific businesses fear survival

Pacific businesses are feeling the full impact of the COVID-19 downturn, with one-quarter fearing they may not survive the current financial crisis and 90 per cent reporting a decline in revenue, data released this week showed. 

A Pacific Business Monitor Report published this week by the Pacific Trade and Invest (P.T.I.).

The fortnightly reports involve online surveys of Pacific business owners. This report - the third in the series - surveyed 126 businesses across the region over a two-week period in mid-June.

The findings revealed 90 per cent of all businesses surveyed believed their own business; their broader national economy and their revenue had been impacted adversely by the coronavirus. 

More alarmingly, only 74 per cent of businesses surveyed in June believed they would survive the current downturn - a slight increase from the month prior of 70 per cent. 

Fully half of the businesses surveyed were taking measures such as reducing staffing costs to stave off foreclosure.

The survey is the third consecutive monthly poll of Pacific business owners by Pacific Trade and Invest. The group is designed to promote and facilitate investment in the region and is an agency of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat; it has outposts in Australia, China, New Zealand and Fiji.

About 25 per cent of businesses surveyed expected business conditions to return to normal in the first quarter of next year, while 24 per cent expected normality to resume in the second, the research found.

Some 22 per cent of business owners surveyed believed it would take until 2022 or later for normal business conditions to resume. 

P.T.I. Australia’s Trade & Investment Commissioner, Caleb Jarvis, earlier said the ongoing research was important for the region. 

“Through our day-to-day interactions with businesses in the Pacific, we hear the stories of how COVID-19 is impacting businesses,” he said.

“As we move forward, the private sector will be key in rebuilding Pacific economies. 

“It’s a long road ahead and it is imperative that the impact of COVID-19 has on businesses in the Blue Pacific is monitored."


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