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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Prices Stand Still as Forex Rate Swings

Prices Stand Still as Forex Rate Swings

During these days, we can notice that the exchange rate bosses at the Olympic Market

and near the round-about to the north of the stadium have been laughing and smiling

so cheerfully now that their business is coursing along the lucrative track.

From morning till night, we often see these merchants flocking here and there or

radioing to each other or shouting if the money is good or not so good.

Good or not so good, the money is varying from hour to hour. In front of the exchange

rate shops, we see crowds of people moving about-some are changing their riel for

dollars and vice versa. We still remember that only six months ago, those exchange

rate merchants did not dare show their faces so openly, because they feared that

they might be in trouble with the competent authorities.

Apparently, this has already happened once or twice, when the problem creators were

beaten to cough up money and dollars. And, yes, it was quite effective. But, now,

as they flaunt their rights everywhere-they can cause the exchange rate to go up

or down as they wish.

The exchange rate plummets when Prince Norodom Sihanouk is away and will likely sour

when the new government is declared-those rich groups of people are creating rain,

storm and sometimes drought in this poor country.

And how about things at the market?

As for the prices of everything on sale at the market whether it be clothes, equipment,

and especially food, it seems they do not care about the exchange rate-they just

sit pretty at the same old price, which is the outrageoulsy high one.

According to the laws of the private market, if the price goes up, it will never

come down easily. But there are the cases were the price will go down but then, in

the blink of an eye it will go shooting up, and of course it will be much higher

than it was before.

People often ask if in the future they will suffer at the hands of such a fluctuating

exchange rate. They hope that if we have a good government and a skillful finance

minister, such a crazy exchange rate will become extinct in Cambodia, and it will

be going as it was during the Sangkum Reasniyum era of Prince Sihanouk. But, if we

cannot choose the right person, the business of the exchange rate merchants will

remain unfairly lucrative as it is now, and the poor people will remain poor or get


At the moment, the exchange rate merchants are trying as hard as they can to get

as rich as fast as possible before the end of the transitional period.



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