Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Garment exports surge as end markets rebound

Garment exports surge as end markets rebound

Garment exports surge as end markets rebound

110610_07
Garment worker Chantaon Phun cuts fabric at Quantum Clothing Group Ltd’s garment factory in Phnom Penh in January.

Our exports should continue to improve now that we’re seeing a recovery from the global financial crisis

Cambodia's garment exports surged 45 percent through April on resurgent Western markets and new demand from Asia, officials said yesterday.

Total garment deliveries between January and April reached US$1.2 billion, up from $846 billion in the same period of 2010, according to Ministry of Commerce statistics.

Industry insiders credited a rebound in the world’s economies and a pickup in orders from both overseas and regional markets for the move.

“Our exports should continue to improve now that we’re seeing a recovery from the global financial crisis,” said Cheat Khemara, a senior officer at the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC).

“At the same time, the rising demand in new markets in Asia also contributed to the surge,” he said, referring to Japan, China and South Korea.

Cheat Khemara said the garment industry sought out different markets in the region to compensate for slowdowns in the US and European Union, though those markets had since shown increasing signs of strength.

GMAC predicted the industry would grow about 20 percent by the end of the year.

Still, recent exports still have not increased enough to meet global demand, said Kong Putheara, a Director at the Commerce Ministry’s statistics department.

That demand has remained relatively stable because Cambodia makes lower-end garments, which have escaped much of the financial crisis, he said.

“Although some European countries have struggled, our supply is just for ordinary people so the demand still there,” he said.

Minister of Commerce Cham Prasidh last month offered similar sentiments, saying low-end garment products felt little impact during the slowdown.

“We are producing lower-end goods. That means that even if you aren’t wealthy in the US, you can still buy a T-shirt from Cambodia,” he said.

“That’s why we survive. Maybe if we serviced the higher-end market we would suffer more,” he added.

Total exports to the US rose 25 percent in the first four months of 2011, climbing to $654 million from $522 million in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the EU’s market saw a surge of 78 percent in Cambodian imports to $247 million, up from $139 million the year before.

While exports may be higher, Cheat Khemara claimed growth in profits has remained elusive.

“Now, everything is getting more expensive, like petrol and especially raw materials to supply the industry, but our selling price is the same. So the profit the industry makes is hurt by these expenses,” he said.

Cheat Khemara also said improved regulations have stabilised the sector and helped the industry grow.

At the end of 2010, Cambodia had 273 garment factories, employing a total of 319,000 workers, according to Commerce Ministry data.

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong