Covid-19 impacts on Pacific business improving slightly - report

Australia's Pacific Trade Invest Commission says the global Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a negative impact on businesses in the region as borders remain closed.

In its Pacific Business Monitor, the commission said the top three challenges for the Pacific as a result of Covid-19, remained poor cashflow, impact of closed international borders and not knowing how long the crisis would last.

Ninety percent of businesses said poor cashflow, 89 percent closed borders and 88 percent, for not knowing how long the pandemic will last.

But Trade Commissioner Caleb Jarvis said the extent and severity of impacts may be beginning to improve with 79 percent Fiji businesses reporting a negative impact - the lowest since tracking began.

Jarvis said while businesses were continuing to take action to reduce costs to their business, the number of businesses reducing operational costs, working hours and staff wages had decreased significantly since the commission's October survey.

He said it was heartening to see the negative toll on mental health had improved amid Covid-19, with 62 percent reporting negative impacts on their mental health - a 12 percent drop from last month.

Jarvis said the PTI global network continued to use the data from the PTI Pacific Business Monitor to champion the region's private sector.

He said the network also looked to this data to help inform the design and delivery of its programmes across the 16 Pacific nations it serviced.