Tonga starts repaying US$4.7m a year to Chinese ECA for reconstruction

(Matangi, Tonga, 22 October 2018) The Tonga Government will start paying US$4.7m a year during the next ten years, (principal only) of its US$52m loan from the Exim Bank of China that was used to fund reconstruction projects after the 2006 riots in Nuku'alofa. The start of the principal repayments has already contributed to a $22.8m decline in Tonga’s foreign reserves in September. Now Tonga is confronting the real cost of the riots and still recovering from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita which struck the main island of Tongatapu in February 2018 and caused about US$148m worth of damage, equivalent to nearly a third of the country's gross domestic product.