Investment approvals by the Council for the Development of Cambodia dropped nearly 67 percent for the first three months of 2011 compared to the same period last year, according to figures obtained yesterday.
Much of the shortfall, where approved investments dropped to US$280 million during the first quarter, from $846 million during the same period 2010, was attributable to a smaller number of large-scale projects given the go-ahead this year.
The CDC said it remains hopeful the numbers will improve as the year progresses.
CDC Deputy Secretary General Duy Thov said the results of one quarter was likely not indicative of what to expect for 2011.
“We don’t know yet. We wait to see the whole year.”
“I am still hopeful that capital investment will be increasing in this year because many businessmen are now beginning to be interested in investing in Cambodia,” he said.
Chheng Kimlong, business and economics lecturer at the University of Cambodia, said he shared the optimism.
Despite the fall in the first quarter, he said he expects investments to increase in the second quarter and third quarter in this year due to growth in garment export, as well as tourism and agriculture sectors.
A sector-by-sector analysis by the CDC showed one agriculture project worth $4 million was given approval between January and March, while eight projects worth $189 million a year earlier.
The industrial sector, which includes garments, saw 13 projects worth $67 million approved in the first three months of this year, compared to 19 projects worth $567 million approved in the corresponding period in 2010.
Some areas saw notable increases. Investments in the garment sector added 11 projects worth $57 million, up from six worth $17 million in the year-ago period.
Also, the CDC listed one tourism-related project worth $17 million compared to one for $3 million in the corresponding period last year.