Cambodia spent more than $1.6 billion importing fuel oil and petrol last year, a figure 14.3 per cent higher than for 2011, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.
The money spent on importing 1.6 million tonnes of petrol and fuel oil – 100,000 tonnes more than in 2011 – reflects increased domestic consumption by the Kingdom’s industry sectors.
“Consumption increased because of the improvement of the industrial and production sectors, especially with the increase in agricultural mechanisation,” Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodia Economic Association, said.
The increase in oil and petrol consumption was also due to the development of infrastructure and the completion of other projects, he added.
Another reason is the increase in domestic transport, especially in the services sector, said Meng Saktheara, director general of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy.
“The transport sector increased a lot last year, as you can see from the traffic congestion,” Meng Saktheara said.
“It is a sign that our economy is growing, otherwise the consumption issue would not be as big.”
The ministry’s data also showed that Cambodia imported more than 1.91 million vehicles and machinery in 2012, almost two and a half times more than the 767,958 units in 2011.
Meng Saktheara said that, although the country imported a lot of petrol and fuel oil, it does not mean the country lacks energy supplies.
“The rise does not mean that we are short of power supply, because we are now getting more power from hydro-electricity and coal-power for the production side,” he said.
Chan Sophal said that the country’s recorded data on oil imports was still low compared to its actual consumption.
“A lot of oil is also smuggled, which the data does not record,” he said.
Cambodia had a trade deficit of $2.65 billion last year, according to the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy data.
The International Monetary Fund’s projection for Cambodia’s GDP growth this year is 6.7 per cent.
To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at firstname.lastname@example.org