CEO survey highlights opportunities in PNG’s frontier market

More than 60% of CEOs interviewed by the global research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) said they felt positive or very positive about the country’s outlook for the coming months, signaling that economic recovery could be on the way.

The findings were released alongside The Report: Papua New Guinea 2017, OBG’s latest publication on the country. Key issues explored in the report include: the benefits that stabilised commodity prices and reforms are bringing to PNG’s economy, especially the balance of trade, which is at a record high; national efforts to expand the non-mineral sector; and new developments in the country’s project pipeline.

As part of its landmark Business Barometer: PNG CEO Survey, OBG asked high-level executives from across the industries a wide-ranging series of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging business sentiment. The responses are now available to view on OBG’s Editors’ Blog.   

According to OBG’s results, over half of executives surveyed found it easy or very easy to obtain credit, in a sign that PNG’s banking sector is maturing.

However, only 36% of companies ranked PNG’s tax environment as competitive or very competitive on a global scale, suggesting that more could be done to simplify and reform fiscal procedures. When it came to talent in the workplace, more than one-third of business leaders cited leadership skills as those they believed to be most in demand, followed by engineering.

OBG’s Regional Editor for Asia, Patrick Cooke, said both the results of the survey and analysis in the group’s latest report suggested that PNG’s economy was on course to improve, with GDP expected to grow by 2.5% in 2017, although forecasts remained well below the 13.3% recorded in 2014.

“Though oil and gas prices remain subdued, the prospect of new discoveries, and the delivery of the landmark PNG LNG liquefied natural gas project has improved investment outlook in the country,” he said. “A shift to other sectors, including consumer-related services, agriculture, minerals and high-potential industries such as tourism, also bodes well for future growth.”

Cooke acknowledged that administrative burdens and a lack of confidence in macroeconomic stability had deterred a number of investors from establishing operations in the country.

“Nonetheless, the prevailing consensus in the region – and a view shared by OBG – is that PNG remains one of the most attractive frontier markets in the world,” he said. “Given the country’s many underdeveloped assets, the priority for government officials is to create a stable, investor-friendly macroeconomic environment that sends a clear message to the world that PNG is open for business.”

Cooke’s in-depth evaluation of the survey’s results can be found on OBG’s Editors’ Blog, titled ‘Next Frontier’. All four of OBG’s regional managing editors use the platform to share their expert analysis of the latest developments taking place across the sectors of the 30+ high-growth markets covered by the company’s research.  

The OBG Business Barometer: CEO Surveys mark an addition to the Group’s extensive portfolio of research tools. The full results of the survey on PNG will be made available online and in print. Similar studies are also under way in the other markets in which OBG operates.

 This survey has been designed to assess business sentiment amongst business leaders (Chief Executives of equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months. Unlike many surveys, the OBG Business Barometer is conducted by OBG staff on a face-to-face basis, across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties. The results are anonymous.

OBG Business Barometer is based on data from companies with revenue within the following parameters, among others:

89% of companies surveyed were private

21% of companies surveyed were international

51% of companies surveyed were local

24% of companies surveyed were regional

The data generated allows for analysis of sentiment within an individual country, as well as regionally and globally. Additionally, comparisons can be drawn between both individual countries and regionally. The results are presented statistically within infographics and discussed in articles written by OBG Managing Editors.

OBG provides this survey, infographics and accompanying analysis from sources believed to be reliable, for information purposes only. OBG accepts no responsibility for any loss, financial or otherwise, sustained by any person or organisation using it.

For further information on the content of the survey, please contact: Patrick Cooke, Regional Editor, Asia, at

Press Release