Public spending and international aid keep East Timor economy “animated”

7 April 2010

Washington, United States, 7 April – The East Timor economy remains “animated” due to public spending and international aid, with oil fund cash serving as a “cushion” for economic shocks, the World Bank said Tuesday.

In 2009, for the first time withdrawals from the Oil Fund exceeded the level of “sustainable” revenues from this financial instrument, which at the end of the year had funds of US$5.4 billion, according to the Asia-Pacific economic update published Tuesday in Washington by the World Bank.

With government spending and the presence of international donors and security forces “animating” the economy, East Timor has been “sheltered” from the effects of the international economic crisis due to its reduced integration in the global market, with the exception of the energy sector.

Even so, oil revenues fell 28 percent due to a drop in prices.

The report, entitled “Coming out of the crisis stronger,” points to signs of “robust” progress such as rise in imports of raw materials (5 percent in 2009), in the number of registered vehicles, which almost doubled, and of the number of mobile phones, which was almost three times higher within a year.

Growth projections remain at 7.5 percent for this year, or 0.1 percentage points higher than in 2009, and 7.4 percent in 2011.

For the World Bank, amongst other key challenges for East Timor is “ensuring the quality of public expenditure, stimulating productivity of the private sector and the diversification of the economy at a time when security and stability are being boosted. (macauhub)