At a recent local business forum on trade finance in Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s capital, Port Moresby, there was notable anxiety among many local businesses. “Where can I get US dollars from, can you help?” said one local businessman, involved in the transport business. “I need to buy goods from abroad; it’s really hurting my business if I can’t get them” said another, from the construction industry.
Such concern is replicated across the business community in PNG, where businesses have to queue for several weeks before they can source from banks the hard currency they need to purchase goods from overseas. Banks, meanwhile, juggle clients’ orders, and go cap in hand to the central bank asking for release of additional foreign currency into the system, if it is available. PNG has been suffering from a notable shortage in foreign currency reserves ever since commodity prices took a down turn. — blog.adb.org/blogs