Friday, May 16, 2008

Logs drive record growth in 2007 - but not for much longer

According to the CBSI Annual Report was launched for the year 2007, double digit growth occurred in 2007, on the back of log exports.

Solomon Times reports

The Solomon Islands economy has performed exceedingly well in 2007 with a record estimated economic growth rate of 10.3%. The Governor of Central Bank, Rick Hou, described the rate as the highest in two decades, and, driven largely by a spurt in logging providing a large part of this growth.

While logging has been pushing foreign cash through the economy at a record rate, what is not clear is the opportunity cost for the country in terms of future forest productivity. Healthy forests have subsidised the rural majority forever - by maintaining soil productivity, clean-running rivers and productive reefs. With these free services depleted, who will pay to replace them, and how much will it cost?

With logging set to collapse after 2010 - a year Hou has called "make or break", we will soon find out.

All this does beg the question - is "logging growth" really growth, or once-off cashflow from a nation-wide liquidation?