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World Bank: Cambodia’s economy to recover in 2010

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March 29, 2009
Cambodian garment exports hit hard by global downturn 

Cambodia's economy is expected to contract by 1 percent this year because of the global economic slump, but it will grow by 3 percent in 2010, the World Bank said on Friday.

Cambodia's economic growth has accelerated over the past decade since the end of the country's civil war, thanks to exports of garments to the United States and European Union, a boom in tourism and bountiful agricultural production.

But growth fell back to 5.5 percent in 2008 and now a contraction is likely because the global crisis has hurt garment exports, which brought in $2.78 billion in 2008 as the main currency earner, and caused the number of tourists to drop.

Net exports will slow with overall global trade volumes as well as through market share losses in Cambodia's main export market of the US, the World Bank said.

Household consumption, incomes, employment and private investment, including foreign direct investment (FDI), were all slowing, it said.

Huot Chea, an economist at the World Bank in Phnom Penh, forecast FDI at just $390 million in 2009 after $790 million last year, but he expected an increase to $500 million in 2010.

The number of tourist arrivals dropped 2 percent in the first two month of 2009 compared with the same period last year, the report said, adding that occupancy rates in major hotels were well below 40 percent.

However, the government was taking action to mitigate the economic downturn, including credit for farmers, training for laid-off workers and other expenditure programmes, he said.


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