Cambodian export values increased more than 21 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year, and officials said the rise was a positive sign for the Kingdom’s economic growth.
According to the Ministry of Commerce’s export data obtained by the Post yesterday, exports reached over $1.65 billion in the first three-month period this year, up from the goods exported during the same period last year, valued at $1.36 billion.
The revenue of exports including manufacturing products, milled rice and agro-industrial products such as cassava amounted to $289.2 million more than the first quarter of the previous year.
The figure was supported by a sharp rise of exports in agricultural products, which increased 41.52 per cent to $147.1 million in the first quarter of this year compared with $103.9 million in the same period last year.
The garment sector saw a 16 per cent increase in exports to $1.34 billion this year compared with last year’s $1.15 billion, according to the data.
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, attributed the garment sector’s success to long-term government support, and said the government’s policy helped attract investors to the country.
“There is good potential for investors in Cambodia due to our political stability,” he said. “When we have more investment, we can create jobs for our people.”
He noted that while some investors were initially afraid of doing business in Cambodia, they were swayed when they saw the stability of Cambodia’s economy.
Another factor leading to export growth, Meng Tech said, was increased direct access to international markets, as Cambodian products had previously been primarily exported only to neighbouring countries before shipping internationally.
“Previously we sold paddy rice to Thailand and Vietnam, and now we mill by ourselves, so we take a lot of profits,” he said.
Chan Sophal, president of Cambodian Economist Association, said the figures were positive predictors for Cambodia’s economy in the coming year.
“I believe in this figure because we see there are increases in investments,” he said.
The World Bank recently predicted that Cambodia’s GDP growth would reach 7.0 per cent for this year, up 0.3 percentage points from its last projection in December.
“I believe growth will be higher than 7 per cent this year,” said Sophal. “There are no huge risks for Cambodian goods including garments and agricultural products.”