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publication May 6, 2019

Timor-Leste Economic Reports


April 2020 Timor-Leste Economic Report

A Nation Under Pressure

Report PagePress release | Download report (.pdf)


Key findings:

  • Economic prospects for 2020 have been weighed down by the lack of a state budget for 2020, renewed political uncertainty, and the global COVID-19 outbreak
  • GDP is currently forecast to contract by nearly 5 percent in 2020, although this projection remains highly uncertain.
  • Public spending is likely to be constrained for most of the year, due to the duodecimal regime in place and execution delays owing to COVID-19.
  • A $250 million withdrawal from the Petroleum Fund was approved, 60 percent of which allocated to prepare and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Timor-Leste has implemented several public health measures to help contain the spread of the virus, including: restrictions on international travel, school closures, rules on access to commercial premises, mandatory confinement of those infected or entering the country, ban on public gatherings, and minimum services for the public administration.
  • An effective response to COVID-19 will require measures to contain the virus and strengthen the capacity of the health system, protect vulnerable households, support affected businesses, and ensure the continuity of public services

October 2019 Timor-Leste Economic Report

Unleashing the Private Sector

Report Page | Press release | Download report (.pdf)


Key findings:

  • Despite the late approval of the 2019 budget, public expenditure in the first half of 2019 was 16 percent higher than in the same period in 2018
  • Private investment is also expected to benefit from greater political and economic stability. 
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 4.1 percent in 2019.
  • GDP growth is expected to accelerate to 4.9 percent by 2021, driven by larger public spending and household consumption. 
  • Medium-term growth prospects are hampered by a weak private sector. Developing productive capabilities will require continued political and macroeconomic stability, strong investments in high-return connective infrastructure and relevant skills, as well as policy and regulatory reforms that improve the business environment.

April 2019 Timor-Leste Economic Report

Moving Beyond Uncertainty

Report page | Press release | Download report (.pdf)


  • Key findings:
  • GDP declined for a second consecutive year, owing to political and economic uncertainty.
  • Public spending constrained until (late) approval of 2018 budget, with strong increase in the last 3months of the year
  • Current account improved due to higher primary income. Trade deficit eased as imports declinded and exports increased.
  • Positive outlook for 2019, with GDP forecast to grow by 3.9% and inflation to remain below 4%..


October 2018 Timor-Leste Economic Report   

Regaining Momentum?

Report page | Press release | Download report (.pdf)



Key findings:

  • GDP growth has fallen sharply in 2017 to -4.7 percent.
  • GDP forecast to improve to 0.8 percent for 2018.
  • Outlook remains uncertain, depending on budget execution.
  • Offshore oil production continues to decline, however the Petroleum Fund recorded strong investment returns.


March 2018 Timor-Leste Economic Report

Lower Public Spending Leads to Slower Growth

Report page | Press release | Download report (.pdf)


Key findings:

  • GDP growth has fallen sharply in 2017 to a projected -1.8 percent.
  • Reserve assets grow and the outlook for tourism and petroleum remains positive.
  • Private consumption has been robust in 2017, but public and private investment has declined.
  • Offshore oil production continues to decline, however strong Petroleum Fund investment returns has lifted GNI.
  • Coffee exports dropped from US$23million in 2016 to US$14million in 2017. This reflects seasonal volatility and exports continue to trend upwards over the long term.