Balance of payments

The figure below shows exports and imports (of goods and services) as a percentage of GDP, along with the current account balance. Exports of services are small, but imports of services consequential. Imports outpaced exports until the early 1990s, when oil exports commenced. For the next two decades, PNG mainly ran current account surpluses. During the early boom years, both exports and imports grew rapidly. Exports fell briefly with the global financial crisis, but imports remained strong due to the PNG LNG construction, and PNG returned to a sustained current account deficit for several years. Then, from 2014, PNG entered a new era with strong export growth due to the PNG LNG project coming on line. However, imports fell sharply in part due to foreign exchange rationing, discussed further below. The current account balance is now in excess of 20 per cent of GDP, and imports that had been on a rising trend fell from 47 per cent of GDP in 2013 to 28 per cent in 2014 and 16 per cent in 2015. They have recovered slightly to 25 per cent in 2019, but are still at one of the lowest levels seen since independence. The previous lowest (before the last few years) was 28 per cent in 1994, another time of foreign exchange crisis.

Data notes on balance of payments

Next series: Foreign exchange