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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Timber! Business is starting to improve

Timber! Business is starting to improve

The downturn in the property market over the past couple of years has affected many layers of Cambodian society.  Chy Bora, 47, has run her timber yard in Svay Rieng since 1995.

Buying timber from suppliers in Ratanakkiri province, she sells to customers in districts throughout the town. Traditionally January to March is the busiest time for trade as this is when people build new houses.

Judging by the deafening noise from the wood saw in her yard, today would seem to be a good day. Outside, three horse-cart drivers are waiting to take wood to customers.

However, appearances are deceptive. The drivers are hanging around waiting for orders like tuk-tuk drivers on street corners.

“If we compare with previous years, business is not so good right now,” says Chy Bora. “Previously, land fetched a high price and sales of wood were good. But this year is better than last.”

According to Chy Bora, when the price of land is high, people tend to haggle less about the price of timber. “Now they bargain a lot,” she says.

In October 2009, Chy Bora took out a loan of US$40,000 from ACLEDA Bank to buy more timber.

“When I started I only had two or three cubic metres of wood,” she says. “After borrowing money from ACLEDA Bank we had more wood ... around 150 cubic metres.”

Despite this, Chy Bora is looking to extend her loan.

“If we have only a little capital we don’t have all the right equipment and it is very difficult to compete so customers will go to another place,” she says. “If we get another loan it will be very good.”

Chy Bora believes a further investment of $200,000 would enable her to compete with other timber merchants. TRANSLATION BY RANN REUY{jathumbnail}

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