Mar 21, 2011
Phnom Penh - Rising exports and a good harvest meant Cambodia enjoyed higher-than-expected growth of 6.7 per cent last year, which was helped along by a weaker dollar and an Asian rebound, the World Bank said Monday.
In its half-yearly economic update for East Asia and the Pacific, the World Bank predicted Cambodia's exports would remain strong in 2011 and help the economy grow 6.5 per cent this year to a gross domestic product of 12.7 billion dollars.
The World Bank credited last year's recovery on a good performance from agriculture, which was up 5.3 per cent, and improved garment exports, up nearly a quarter.
Most garments were sent to the United States and European Union. The World Bank said the recovery in the garment and footwear sectors had added more than 55,000 jobs, nearly reversing the numbers lost during the 2008-2009 global economic crisis.
Cambodia's exports were expected to remain strong partly because of preferential tariffs for least-developed countries exporting to the EU, it said.
Cambodia's economy rests on four pillars: agriculture, garment manufacturing, tourism and construction.
The World Bank said higher tourism arrivals, up 16 per cent to 2.5 million tourists last year, had helped boost the economy with receipts of 1.8 billion dollars.
But it warned construction remained sluggish and said the ratio of loans to deposits was static at around 74 per cent, the result of limited lending opportunities.
Foreign investment rose 16 per cent last year, which helped to diversify production and exports. The World Bank singled out a trebling of milled rice exports for particular praise.
Cambodia enjoyed strong annual growth of 6.5 to 13.3 per cent from 2001 to 2008. However, the global economic crisis exposed the country's reliance on its narrow four-pillar economic base.