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East Timor’s non-oil GDP up 4.3 percent in 2015

East Timor’s gross domestic product (GDP) excluding oil exports grew 4.3 percent year-on-year in 2015, according to estimates revealed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week.

In 2014, East Timor’s GDP posted a 5.5-percent annual expansion. The slowdown in economic growth in 2015 was “due to weaker government spending,” said Ms Yu Ching Wong, who led an IMF mission to the Southeast Asian country.

According to a statement issued by the international organisation, an IMF team visited East Timor from February 1 to February 12.

“Although the recent fall in global oil prices has weakened overall macroeconomic prospects of oil exporters, [East Timor] has been cushioned by the prudent saving of its oil wealth in the Petroleum Fund,” Ms Yu was quoted as saying in the statement.

The head of the IMF’s mission added the organisation “welcomes the authorities’ continued commitment to a transparent and accountable fiscal framework that has allowed oil revenues to be saved through the Petroleum Fund”.

But Ms Yu warned, “fiscal consolidation measures are needed to safeguard long-term fiscal and debt sustainability”. “The assets of the Petroleum Fund should be preserved to provide an adequate stream of investment incomes for future generations,” she added.