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Growth seen dropping to 7% in 2008


June 9, 2008

Growth seen dropping to 7% in 2008

Cambodian economic performance remains robust though the pace of growth is expected to ease to around seven percent in 2008, down from over 10 percent last year, local media reported Monday.

According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) statement released recently, the drop in economic growth to around seven percent this year mirrors slowing growth in the garment sector, the Mekong Times newspaper quoted the IMF as saying.

Garment exports are under pressure because of a decrease in international demand and intensified regional competition, the IMF said.

Cambodia's garment industry is a major contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) with 301 factories and over 340,000 workers exporting $2.9 billion worth of garments last year.

"Tourism continues to expand at a healthy pace," the IMF stated, adding that with the Tourism Ministry reporting around two million tourists visiting Cambodia last year generating a total revenue of $1.4 billion.

Cambodia's tourism industry accounts for 15 percent of GDP and employs tens of thousands, indirectly benefiting many more.

Cambodia, as a net rice exporter, should benefit from higher rice prices, the IMF said, but it warned higher food prices will adversely affect the most vulnerable, particularly the urban poor and the landless.

An IMF staff mission led by Luis Valdivieso, visited Cambodia from May 28 to June 5, to hold discussions with senior officials of the Cambodian government on macroeconomic developments and policies.

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