Tonga experienced mixed growth in March, with an increase in agricultural exports.
Exports rose to 2.7 tonnes, largely due to the harvesting of late yams.
This offset declines in the export of cassava and taro.
The figures were released by the Reserve Bank in its latest report on economic activities.
The Bank said lending to the agriculture sectors rose by 8.3% as farmers prepare for the squash planting season.
Construction activities continued to slow, with fewer loans to the construction and mining & quarrying sectors.
Housing loans also fell, as did lending to the manufacturing sector.
However, the number of container registrations rose by 161 registrations.
This was due to a rise in the number of private containers, which offset a decline in business container registrations.
International air arrivals also rose by 8.9% and four cruise ships arrived during March.
The banking system remained sound, as banks continued to maintain a strong capital position backed by adequate profits.
However, foreign reserves fell by $8.5 million over the month of March, equivalent to 7.8 months of imports. This was mainly because of higher import payments and loans.
During March the price of tobacco, restaurants and hotels, house equipment services, and local food rose.
In contrast, the cost of imported food such as chicken legs, fruits and flour fell.
The main points
- Tonga experienced mixed growth in March, with an increase in agricultural exports.
- Exports rose to 2.7 tonnes, largely due to the harvesting of late yams.