Cambodia imported more than $96 million worth of gems during the first half of this year, Ministry of Commerce data shows.
Ministry spokesman Seang Thay told The Post on Monday that Cambodia imported $96.24 million worth of gemstones in the first six months of this year, but did not disclose the figures by countries of origin.
However, previous reports show that the Kingdom mainly imports gems and jewellery from Hong Kong and Thailand.
The Nation reported last week that Cambodia is one the main destinations in Asean for Thai gem and jewellery exports.
The report showed that Thai gem and jewellery exports to Cambodia rose 137 per cent, among the more than $11.452 billion in Thailand’s total exports of the commodities worldwide during the first eight months of this year.
Thay said the ministry has no data on other jewellery imports, saying that the data is available from the General Department of Customs and Excise.
However, General Department of Customs and Excise director-general Kun Nhem could not be reached for comment on Tuesday on the matter.
The owner of a jewellery store at Central Market in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district, who asked not to be named, said most of Cambodia’s jewellery imports came from Thailand, Hong Kong and Belgium.
“We are totally dependent on imports from international markets. Prices are volatile [and fluctuate] according to international prices,” he said.
Another jeweller at Old Market in the capital’s Wat Phnom commune said the jewellery market in the Kingdom is thriving.
She said currently gold is selling for $182 per chy – a unit equivalent to 3.75 grams – and platinum at $127. “My business is good with a lot of orders from customers,” she said.
However, she was unsure of where her products originated from.
“I buy it from wholesalers in Phnom Penh and I don’t where they get it from,” she added.
Indian mining firm Mesco Gold (Cambodia) Ltd is close to producing gold in Cambodia with the installation of a processing plant at its Phum Syarung mine in Ratanakkiri province, remaining on schedule to start refining gold later this year, the firm has said.
Emerald Resources NL, the Australian-listed mining firm behind Cambodia’s Okvau Gold Project in Mondulkiri province, is expected to start its first large-scale gold project in the Kingdom early next year.