Cambodia's global non-gold trade exceeded $36 billion in the first 11 months of 2021, rising by more than 24 per cent year-on-year, according to Ministry of Economy and Finance data.
In the January-November period, non-gold goods exports amounted to $15.613 billion, up by 22.6 per cent year-on-year, driven by textiles, bicycles, furniture, fur skins, rubber, plastics, plank boards, construction materials, wiring and wiring components, electronic components, sugar, bananas, cassava, mangoes and other agricultural produce.
The analogous imports amounted to $20.4 billion, climbing by 25.3 per cent year-on-year, mainly buoyed by fabrics, construction materials and fuel, the ministry reported.
Despite Covid-19, Cambodia’s economy has recorded a gradual recovery, especially in areas such as tourism, construction and foreign direct investment (FDI), it said.
"Overall, the Cambodian economy is expected to grow positively in 2022 due to recovery in the economies of the Kingdom’s trading partners and the global economic situation, as well as the participation of Cambodians in the duty to vaccinate against Covid-19,” the ministry said.
The US was the largest buyer of Cambodian goods, with 42.8 per cent market share, followed by EU (18.5 per cent), mainland China (8.8 per cent), Japan (6.4 per cent), ASEAN (6.3 per cent), UK (4.2 per cent) and other markets (13 per cent), it said.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath told The Post on January 9 that the increase in imports was a sign of strong domestic production and demand, now that Covid-19 is virtually under control in the Kingdom.
This growth is also due to lacklustre activity in countries with similar products to Cambodia, as well as the Kingdom’s good relations with trading partners, he said.
He argued that the trade deficit was not a major concern for the Cambodian economy, saying most imports were raw materials or other goods to support the production chain for export.
"The outlook for the Cambodian economy in 2022 is even better than in 2021, due to increased domestic production and exports," Sereyvath said.
In 2020, the Kingdom’s exports reached $17.21537 billion, up 16.72 per cent year-on-year from $14.74874 billion, and imports stood at $18.59048 billion, down 7.84 per cent year-on-year from $20.17181 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.