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This blog is brought to you by Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited, a financial advisory services and consulting company based in Suva, Fiji.
To contact the authors of this blog, please call telephones (679) 3342719, (679) 3544897 or e-mail info@gilbert.com.fj.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Business Continuity Planning Consultancy : Our New Product

  • Does your business need to plan for emergencies?
  • Do you need assistance?

Launch of our new Business Continuity Planning product

The product caters for unexpected incidents that may prevent businesses from continuing normal business operations. It covers natural disasters, disruptions in major processes, systems and technology and minimises impact of disasters to ensure that a business is up and running in a minimum amount of time.

We also provide consultancy services in the following other areas :

  • Strategic/Corporate Planning Consultancy
  • Capacity Assessments Consultancy
  • Advice on banking, capital markets and investment

Clients include : FNPF, ATH, Unit Trust of Fiji (before becoming Trustees for the Trust), Colonial First State Investments Limited, UNAIDS, UNICEF, among others.

For more information, pls contact Gilbert Veisamasama Jr on gilbert@gilbert.com.fj, gilbert@connect.com.fj, or Siteri Tabua on siteri@gilbert.com.fj. Our telephone numbers are : (679) 3342719 or (679) 3544897.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Comments by Alan Greenspan on the Global Financial Crisis

Provided below is an article reporting on Alan Greenspan's comments on the global financial crisis that is hitting most of the large economies today. Greenspan was Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank in the USA for more than a decade and retired recently.


"Financial crisis is 'once in a century credit tsunami', Greenspan says as he talks of his shock at state of economy", by David Gardner, and taken from www.dailymail.co.uk

'Once in a century credit tsunami': Alan Greenspan describing the financial crisis to Congress in Washington today

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan has admitted that he was blindsided by the 'once-in-a-century credit tsunami' that has wreaked havoc on the world's economies.

The man once hailed as one of the most accomplished central bankers in America's history confessed he was in 'a state of shocked disbelief'.

Mr Greenspan, who headed the Federal Reserve for more than 18 years, said the financial crisis 'turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined'.

And he warned the economic meltdown will drive millions of people out of work.

'Given the financial damage to date, I cannot see how we can avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment,' Mr Greenspan told congressional lawmakers.

'Fearful American households are attempting to adjust, as best they can, to a rapid contraction in credit availability, threats to retirement funds and increased job insecurity.'

The humbled former Fed chief, who has written best-selling books on the economy, has been blasted by critics who claim he left interest rates too low for too long, spurring an unsustainable housing boom, and failed to crackdown on sub prime mortgages being doled out to home-buyers who didn't satisfy conventional borrowing requirements.

It was the collapse of these mortgages and rising defaults a year ago that triggered the current crisis.

Fighting to restore his battered reputation, Mr Greenspan blamed the sub prime collapse on over-eager investors who did not take into account the threats that would be posed once home prices stopped surging upward.

'It was the failure to properly price such risky assets that precipitated the crisis,' he added.

Mr Greenspan was hauled in front of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee along with former U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow and Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Christopher Cox as Congress sought to discover how much regulatory failings contributed to the crisis.

'The list of mistakes is long and the cost to taxpayers is staggering,' said committee chairman Henry Waxman.

'Our regulators became enablers rather than enforcers. Their trust in the wisdom of the markets was infinite. The mantra became that government regulation is wrong. The market is infallible.

'For too long, the prevailing attitude in Washington has been that the market always knows best.

'The Federal Reserve had the authority to stop the irresponsible lending practices, but its long-time chairman, Alan Greenspan, rejected pleas that he intervene,' he added.

Mr Waxman, a Democrat, asked point-blank whether Mr Greenspan agreed he was wrong in failing to intervene in the markets when he was in charge of the U.S. central bank.

Mr Greenspan has long argued that regulatory intrusion slows the economy.

'My question is simple: Were you wrong?' asked Mr Waxman.

Mr Greenspan said he was 'partially wrong' in the case of credit default swaps, complex trading tools meant to act as insurance for bond buyers against default.

'I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interest of organisations, specifically banks and others, was such that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and the equity,' he admitted.

It was the closest he got to accepting some blame for the financial calamity that has reverberated around the world.

Mr Greenspan said stabilisation of home prices is vital to revive the paralysed economy, but he said that was not likely to occur for 'many months in the future.'

When the housing market finally recovers, then 'the market freeze should begin to measurably thaw and frightened investors will take tentative steps towards re-engagement with risk,' he added.

Until that happens, he said the government is correct to move forward aggressively with efforts to support the financial sector.

He called the £400billion package approved by Congress a fortnight ago 'adequate to serve the need' and claimed its impact was already being felt in the markets.

Wall Street in New York closed almost six per cent down last night but rallied on opening and was up more than 200 points in early trading.

There were huge losses in Asia overnight but British shares in London appeared more resilient after the pound dived and £4billion was wiped off stocks yesterday.

The FTSE-100 opened up 0.5 per cent but swung between positive and negative territory all day. Rising U.S. shares pushed it back to be one per cent up at the close.

However, the losses on the Dow Jones last night sparked huge sell-offs across the globe:

  • Wall Street closed down almost six per cent amid persistent worries about the state of the U.S. economy but climbed back in early trading this afternoon
  • Japan's Nikkei fell by as much as 7.59 per cent at one stage due to fears about its shrinking foreign exports before rallying to close 2.5 per cent down
  • In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng closed down more than 500 points or 3.5 per cent after shares slumped to their lowest level since April 2005
  • South Korea's benchmark index closed down a massive 7.4 per cent. There were also falls in India, Australia, New Zealand and Russia
  • In Europe, Germany's Dax was in the red from early trading. By late afternoon, the French Cac-40 has also fallen into negative territory, down 1.7 per cent.

Finland's finance minister Jyrki Katainen became the latest leader to declare recession was around the corner, estimating it may last up to three years in Europe.

'Recession is very close in some particular countries, maybe in all the European countries,' he told Bloomberg.

'I don't know how long a recession or down-cycle we will face, but maybe it will take some two or three years. Even if we can calm the international turmoil, slower economic development will follow.'

Leaders from 43 countries across Asia and Europe will meet in China tomorrow for a two-day summit to discuss a co-ordinated response to the economic and financial problems.

EU Commission President Jose Barroso, already in Beijing for the meeting, said today: 'We are living in unprecedented times and we need unprecedented levels of global coordination. It's very simple; we swim together, or we sink together.'

Mr Brown admitted for the first time yesterday that the UK was sliding into recession, a statement that wrecks his claims to have ended 'boom and bust'.

His words during fractious House of Commons exchanges came hours after Bank of England governor Mervyn King also used the 'R' word for the first time.

A technical recession is defined as two straight quarters of economic contraction. The last time this has happened in Britain was under John Major in the early 1990s.

Mr Brown has for years claimed to have put an end to Britain's record of explosive bursts of growth followed by painful economic slumps.

He argued that reforms such as Bank of England independence and the implementation of public borrowing rules had put the country on a path to long-term stability.

But, the worst banking crisis since World War One has propelled the country into a period of extraordinary economic danger.

Government figures due out tomorrow are expected to show that between July and September the economy shrank for the first time since 1992.

And Mr Brown is being forced to tear up his fiscal rules as he attempts to spend his way out of the downturn.

The Prime Minister struggled to defend his economic record in Commons clashes with David Cameron.

The Tory leader three times challenged Mr Brown to withdraw his previous claims to have abolished 'boom and bust', but the Prime Minister refused.

Mr Brown said: 'The Governor of the Bank of England said last night that not since the First World War has the international banking system been so close to collapse, and I agree with him.'

He went on: 'Having taken action on the banking system, we must now take action on the global financial recession which is likely to cause recession in America, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and - because no country can insulate itself from it - Britain too.'

Those last words were greeted by Tory cries of 'at last'.

Mr Cameron said: 'Anyone listening to this exchange will know that he claimed the credit in the boom, so why won't he take responsibility in the bust?

'Let me ask him one more time, it's a simple yes or no, have you abolished boom and bust? Yes or no?'

Mr Brown responded by pointing out that interest rates have not hit 15 per cent, as they did under Mr Major.

Observers claimed yesterday's exchanges were the first time Mr Cameron has bested Mr Brown in debate on his favourite turf - the economy.

Many economists say the Bank of England is now likely to cut base rate by at least a half point at next month's meeting.

This would be the first back-to-back half-point reductions since the Bank gained independence from the Treasury in 1997.

Mr Brown and other world leaders will meet on November 15 in Washington to address the global financial crisis.

It is the first in a series of summits to address what economists predict could be a long and deep downturn."

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Foster Group Pacific declares final dividend

Foster Group Pacific Limited (FGP), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has declared a final dividend of F$2.6 million (or 25 cents per share) on net profit after tax derived for the financial year ending 30 June 2008.

The final dividend will be paid on 20 November, 2008.

The Group consists of Foster Group Pacific limited and its subsidiary, Samoa Breweries.

Foster Group Pacific Limited made a net profit after tax of over $10 million for the financial year ending 30 June, 2008.

Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are: telephone (679) 3342719 or e-mail: info@gilbert.com.fj

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RB Patel Group Limited Declares Interim Dividend of F$12 million

RB Patel Group Limited, a listed company in the South Pacific Stock Exchange, has declared an interim dividend of F$1.2 million (or 4 cents per share) for the six months ending 30 September 2008.

The interim dividend will be paid on 20 November, 2008.

The company made a net profit after tax of F$2.112 million for the last six months ending 30 September 2008.

This is an improvement compared to the same period in 2007, which had a net profit after tax of F$1.929million.

Over the coming year, the company will open its new complex in Nadi on November 2008. The complex is worth F$12million.

The new complex known as JetPoint Supacentre, will have a RB Patel Supermarket, open market restaurants, coffee shops, retail shops, offices and other ancillary services.

Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are: telephone (679) 3342719 or e-mail: info@gilbert.com.fj

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Future Forest Limited (FFF) aims to list on the South Pacific Stock Exchange.

Future Forest Limited (FFF), Fiji’s first teak planting company, has revealed that it aims to list on the South Pacific Stock Exchange as a public company by early April or May 2009.

The price of teak timber has increased significantly over recent years, providing an excellent investment opportunity with competitive returns.

Future Forests Fiji Ltd is funded through private investments. The company welcomes interested parties to contact the company for more information on investment opportunities.

Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are: telephone (679) 3342719 or e-mail: info@gilbert.com.fj

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Impact of Global Financial Crisis on Fiji

Much has been said about the potential impact of the global financial crisis on Fiji.

Some academics and professionals have said that there will be minimal impact, if any, on Fiji.

We would rather say that there would be an impact, however, the magnitude of the impact and whether positive or negative would depend on movements in the USD against the FJD, as with other currencies that we have in our currency basket. [The Reserve Bank of Fiji calculates the FJD exchange rates daily from a basket of currencies containing the currencies of our major trading partners.]

Most of our investors may face little impact if they have not invested directly in mortgage-backed securities which have risen out of the sub-prime mortgage lending by banks in the US. However, if they have done so, whether directly or indirectly, then they would be exposed to the crisis.

Refer to the following articles and news items below.



"Global financial crisis impact for Fiji not clear cut, Friday, 17 October 2008, Fiji One News, 6pm

A financial analyst believes the economic impact of the global financial crisis here is not clear cut and can be diluted or worsened.

Gilbert Veisamasama believes the crisis would impact on the Fiji dollar in relation to the US dollar.

It will also depend on how it impacts on other currencies in our currency basket from which the Reserve Bank of Fiji determines the Fiji dollar exchange rates daily.

The Global Financial Crisis continues to raise concern.

According to BBC reports, many investors are now convinced that the US economy, if not already in a recession, is moving towards one.

In Fiji, the economic impact, according to Financial analyst, Gilbert Veisamasama would not be as clear cut.

Veisamasama says, if one or more counterparty bank fails, then the impact multiplies across banks, such as trade with those banks.

The RBF invests Fiji's foreign reserves in deposits with central banks overseas. Veisamasama explains those are safe hence the impact on them might be minimal.

The Association of Banks in Fiji has said they expect little impact from the global financial crisis, as they have sound banking practices and are well regulated."


Check the Fiji TV website, http://www.fijitv.info/news, for copies of the news clip.


"The effect of global financial crisis on govt bonds, Wednesday, 15 October 2008, Fiji One News, 6pm and 10pm

The Global Financial Crisis may have a positive effect on a government loan re-payment, for the150-Million U-S Dollar bond it issued on the international markets, two years ago.

However, the direct impact would be through any movements in exchange rates depending on the weakening of the US-dollar.

The deposed government of Laisenia Qarase had issued its first bond on the international markets for a total of 150-million US dollars for a term of five years.

The issue had raised significant interest amongst international investors in Europe and Asia....and was seven times over subscribed with over ONE BILLION-US-dollars.

With the global financial crisis now unfolding in the US and across the Europe and Asia - a financial analyst says this will be calculated by the US-FIJI exchange rate.

The bond was issued in September 2006 to raise funds for the government and also to meet the 2007 Budget deficit requirements - in particular to finance its capital projects.

Financial analyst, Gilbert Veisamasama says, in this instance the government would benefit as we spend less to meet interest payments.

However, he says the impact might not be as clear cut and it could be diluted or worsened.
Emailed questions to the Deputy Permanent Secretary for Finance Shiri Chand remained un-answered when this bulletin was prepared."


Check the Fiji TV website, http://www.fijitv.info/news, for copies of the news clip.



"Banking system strong, Fiji Times, Tuesday, October 14, 2008

FIJI's banking system is strong and well positioned to meet the challenges of the global environment, say two banks in the country.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited and Westpac Banking Corporation both said they have a secure AA credit rating. AA credit rating denotes a very low expectation of credit risk. ANZ general manager Fiji, Robert Bell said the bank is in a strong position.

"Fiji is fortunate to have three major banks operating in Fiji in similar positions. ANZ is well capitalised, well regulated both in Australia and Fiji and remains profitable," he said.

"One of the impacts of the credit crisis has been the tightening of wholesale credit markets that many banks heavily relied on for funding loans to businesses and customers.

"ANZ Fiji does not rely on wholesale lending so is in a strong position. Therefore to some extent Fiji has been to date cushioned from the global impacts on banks," Mr Bell said. However, Mr Bell said the global economies do have an impact on Fiji. He said the slowing of economic growth in Australia, New Zealand and Asia has the potential to impact Fiji. Westpac general manager Fiji John Cashmore said: "Our focus on Australia, Fiji and the other countries that we operate in, and our disciplined approach to managing risk means that we have no direct exposure to US sub-prime mortgages".

"When many financial institutions around the world were investing in exotic securities, including sub-prime mortgages, we chose not to," said Mr Cashmore said.

Mr Cashmore said the Fiji economy has been well supported by proactive regulatory bodies such as the Reserve Bank of Fiji, who have been ahead of the game and acted when needed. This includes the reduction of interest rates over the last period by the Banks, he said.

"Aside from the RBF restrictions that have been in place for the last two years since the 2006 Coup and the banks normal lending criteria and risk management, there is no impact on lending to our customers -- both personal or business," he said."

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Fiji Water wishes to manage Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited

The Natural Waters of Fiji, manufacturers of bottled Fiji Water which contributes 30% to Fiji’s total exports wishes to manage the Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited.

The company has submitted three proposals to the interim Government for Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited.

However, the Government has called for Expressions of Interest from other companies.

Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited is a company that has been delisted from the South Pacific Stock Exchange, effective from 1 August, 2008. The company produces and supplies beef and engages in cattle breeding. The company also supplies other meat products including those from sheep and goats and also produces horticultural crops.

Yaqara Pastoral Company Limited made a net loss after tax of F$1.1 million for its latest financial year ended 31 March 2008.

If you need any assistance on an investment you wish to buy/sell in Fiji, please e-mail us at info@gilbert.com.fj or contact us on (679) 3342 719. For foreign investors wishing to set up a business in Fiji, we can also offer you our attractively priced services.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decrease in fuel prices effective from today 16.10.08

The Prices and Incomes Board has announced a decrease in fuel prices effective from today, Thursday, 16 October, 2008.

The new fuel prices are as follows:
  • Motor spirits, F$2.16per litre (from $2.27);
  • Diesel, F$2.02 per litre (from $2.28);
  • Kerosene, F$1.86 per litre (from F$2.05);
  • Premix outboard fuel, F$2.10 per litre (from $2.22).

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fiji Sugar Corporation makes a loss

The Fiji Sugar Corporation Limited (FSC), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE) made a net loss of over F$19.331 million for its financial year ending 31 May 2008.

This was after recording a net profit after tax of F$6.591 million for its 2007 financial year. The loss in 2008 was due to a reduction in operating revenue of 13.70% and a fall in sugar production.

The FSC received F$25 million from Government to pay for cane supplied by growers before the company receives proceeds from its sales.

The FSC has entered into a F$1 billion deal with the European Union for the preferential supply of 300,000 tonnes of raw sugar annually for the next seven years. This commenced from 30 September 2008.

The company has also entered into a memorandum of Understanding with Japan–based Sojitz Corporation to investigate the feasibility of ethanol production in Fiji. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2009.

The sugar industry is important to the Fiji economy as it is one of the major foreign exchange earners for the country. It contributes 5.60% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 30.00% of total exports.

The company has also announced that its Annual General Meeting will be held on 30, October 2008, 10.00am, at the Conference Room, Waterfront Hotel, Lautoka.

Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are: telephone (679) 3342719 or e-mail: info@gilbert.com.fj.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Fijian Holdings Group records F$10 million profit

Fijian Holdings Group (FHL), a company listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange (SPSE), made a net profit after tax of F$10.530 million, for its latest financial year ending 30 June, 2008.
The company has also declared its second dividend payout for the financial year of over F$2million which is to be paid out on 31 October, 2008.

FHL is one of the better performing companies listed on the SPSE.

The company has also announced that its Annual General Meeting will be held on 31 October 2008, 3.00pm, at the Banyan Room, Holiday Inn, Suva.

Individuals and groups that need investment advice can use our company, Gilbert & Samuels Company Limited. Our contacts are: telephone (679) 3342719 or e-mail: info@gilbert.com.fj.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Global financial market turmoil

In a press release, the Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr Sada Reddy, highlights the impact of the global financial markets turmoil on Fiji. Here is a copy of a press release issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji on 7 October, 2008.

“GLOBAL FINANCIAL MARKET TURMOIL”

There has been unprecedented developments in the global financial markets in recent weeks. The financial market problems which began in US has spread rapidly to other economies. These include Europe, Asia, South America including Australia and New Zealand.

In view of some concerns by the business community on any impact on Fiji, the Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of Fiji, Mr Sada Reddy, issued the following statement: “The global financial crisis is still unfolding and is difficult to forecast what the exact impact of these developments will be on small island countries such as Fiji. However, it is quite probable that the global economic slowdown may affect to some extent the demand for our exports and services, including tourism.
However, there are some positive developments as well in terms of the fall in oil prices. This will mean lower fuel prices in coming months and this in turn may slowdown the high inflation rate we have been experiencing so far this year.

On any possible impact on Fiji’s financial system, Mr Reddy said that Fiji’s banks are to a large extent insulated from the global financial markets and therefore we do not expect any major issues for our banks and insurance companies.
The parents of Fiji’s banks are well capitalized and stable based on information from the regulators of the parents of our branch bank operations.”

RESERVE BANK OF FIJI

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Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited restrictions on trading of its shares on the South Pacific Stock Exchange

Amalgamated Telecom Holdings Limited a listed company in the South Pacific Stock Exchange has restricted all Directors and staff of ATH and its Group companies including Telecom Fiji Limited, Vodafone Fiji Limited, Fiji Directories Limited, Internet Services (Fiji) Limited, Xceed Pasifika Limited and Transtel Limited from trading (buying/selling) on the South Pacific Stock Exchange with effect from 7 October to 5 December, 2008.

This restriction of trading also applies to immediate family members (including spouse, children, brothers, sisters and parents).

The restriction is in accordance with the Group’s Code of Corporate Governance.
Pls contact telephone (679) 3308700 for further information and clarification.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Annual General Meeting for Flour Mills of Fiji, Atlantic Pacific Packaging and Rice Company Limited

The Annual General Meeting for Flour Mills of Fiji and its subsidiaries Atlantic Pacific & Packaging and Rice Company Limited companies that are listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange, is scheduled for Friday, 31 October 2008, at the Training Room, Atlantic & Pacific Packaging Company Limited, Leonidas Street, Walu Bay, Suva.

Flour Mills of Fiji made a Group net profit after tax of over F$4.50 million for its latest financial year ending 30 June, 2008.

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Colonial National Bank Interest Rates (Updated 5.10.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by Colonial National Bank are as follows:
  • Business Banking Base Rate – 9.20%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Variable Rate – 9.50%, 1 Year Fixed Rate – 7.50%;
  • Investment Loan : Variable Rate – 9.50%, 1 Year Fixed Rate – 7.50%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 9 months - 2.25%, 1 year - 2.50%, 1.5 Years - 2.50%, 2 Years - 3.00%, 3 Years - 3.00%.
Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by the bank without prior notice.

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Westpac Interest Rates (updated 5.10.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by Westpac Fiji are as follows:
  • Business Lending Rate - 9.99%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Variable Rate – 9.50%, 1 year Fixed Rate – 7.50%;
  • Investment Loan : Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 6 to less than 9 months - 1.25%, 9 months to less than 1 year - 1.75%, 1 year to less than 1.5 Years - 1.75%, 1.5 years to less than 2 Years - 2.00%, 2 years to less than 3 Years - 3.00%.
Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by the bank without prior notice.

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ANZ Interest Rates (updated 30.09.08)

Schedule of interest rates released by ANZ Fiji are as follows:
  • Business Index Rate - 10.25%;
  • Residential Property Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Investment Loan : Standard Variable Rate - 9.50%, 1 Year Fixed Rate - 7.50%;
  • Personal Loans : Secured - 11.50%, Unsecured - 14.20%;
  • Small Loans : Unsecured - 19.00%;
  • Retail Term Deposits: 9 months to 1 year - 1.25%, 1 to 2 Years - 1.75%, 2 Years to 3 Years - 3.00%.
Interest rates are on a per annum basis and may be varied by ANZ without prior notice.

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