Pacific Central Banks to join forces on COVID-19 response

The Central Banks of the Pacific are convening next week to tackle the COVID-19 crisis together, in a forum hosted by the Asian Development Bank and Griffith University.

Central Bank Governors will spend the morning together on Wednesday and share how they see the current financial crisis caused by the pandemic, and how they hope to rebuild their economies.

Griffith says it is the Central Banks who have helped their countries stabilise the financial markets and minimise pain, especially in the wake of the tourism industry turning off almost overnight.

“Central banks have once again found themselves doing the heavy lifting in responding to economic and financial crisis presented by COVID-19.

“However, these necessary actions have consequences, raising challenges for global economies and financial systems alike,” the university said. 

It is the first ever virtual forum for South Pacific bank Governors to meet with stakeholders from the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the central banks and governments of Australia and New Zealand to talk about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Griffith expects 180 people will be participating.

““The purpose of the forum is to start high-level regional discussion culminating in research-based solutions for revival and inclusive and sustainable development the region’s economic and financial sectors post COVID-19,” Forum Convenor Dr. Parmendra Sharma said.

Dr. Sharma, who runs the South Pacific Centre for Central Banking at Griffith said he hopes the Governors will build a “research-based approach” to deal with the effects of the pandemic.

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific will give the keynote address.

Griffith Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans said the University is pleased to facililtate the discussion over challenges facing the sector in the region.

“Griffith is proud to develop and facilitate an event with such important institutions as the RBA, RBNZ, World Bank Group, ADB, IMF and Australia-Pacific Business Council, to enable collaboration among the region’s central banks for the benefits of broader communities and their economies,” Professor Evans said.

The Central Bank of Samoa has already implemented several measures it hopes will help the country deal with the lack of tourism and shipping struggles due to the pandemic.

Last month the Samoa Observer revealed it has placed a three per cent interest rate cap on term deposits in a bid to stimulate the economy by discouraging saving and hopefully boosting spending. 

The move will formally come into effect from Tuesday 01 December, and the Bank hopes commercial banks will also apply the same to their loan interest rates. 

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