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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trade deficit grows at start of the year

Trade deficit grows at start of the year

Cambodia's total imports grew at a quicker pace than exports over the first two months of 2011 compared to the period last year, according to Ministry of Commerce statistics obtained yesterday.

Goods worth some US$757 million left the Kingdom for foreign markets in January and February 2011, from $514 million last year. Imports totalled $1.07 billion, from $597 million during the period in 2010.

Ministry of Commerce Director of Statistics Department Kong Putheara said that the increase in trade came largely through a rebounding global economy, as well as increased domestic production.

“People are earning more – there is more demand – that’s why our exports increase,” he said.

He said imports were increasing due to needs for local industry, adding increasing imports of production inputs would improve Cambodia’s economy in the coming years.

Of the $757 million worth of goods exported in the first two months, some $652 million was garment products, the statistics show.

Agricultural products such as rice, corn and rubber, made up $77.8 million of the exports in January and February – a 233 percent increase on the same two months in 2010.

Kong Putheara said Cambodia’s exports looked set to continue increasing this year, as the world’s economy improves.

Government officials have discussed the need for Cambodia to diversify its economy.

At the fourth Cambodian Economic Forum held in Phnom Penh in February, Prime Minister Hun Sen emphasised the Kingdom’s requirements to develop its industrial capacity.

“There is an urgent need for Cambodia to modernise its economy, through promoting the development of the industrial sector in order to achieve sustainable growth,” he said.

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