The National Bank of Cambodia released its annual report yesterday, citing strong growth in 2015 despite challenging economic circumstances caused by a Chinese economic slowdown, increased regional competitiveness and the appreciation of the US dollar.
Bolstered by low global oil prices, the Kingdom’s economy grew by 6.9 per cent in 2015, buoyed by growth in the construction and real estate industry which grew by 18 per cent compared to the previous year. Despite increasing wages, garment exports increased by 12 per cent over the same period, followed by the tourism and agricultural sectors, the report said.
“Tourism had about the same growth rate of 6 per cent as last year, supported by The Open Skies Policy, development of new tourism sites and improvement of infrastructures,” the report said.
“In contrast, agriculture continues to have slow growth of one per cent due to prolonged drought at the beginning of the year and the fall in prices of agricultural products in the global market.”
Chea Chanto, governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, expressed satisfaction with the growth of the country’s banking industry, emphasising the role the sector has played in promoting greater financial inclusion and sustainable economic growth.
“To support the government policy on poverty reduction of more than one per cent per annum and in line with the ASEAN initiative beyond 2015, the National Bank of Cambodia continues to implement a policy of promoting financial inclusion, which would further promote the use of official financial services at an affordable price,” he said in the report.
Just over half of the total adult population had access to financial services in 2015, the central bank reported, while the number of depositors and borrowers in the country grew by 22 per cent and 14 per cent respectively last year.
Inflation over the last year averaged 1.2 per cent, down from 3.9 per cent in 2014 and GDP per capita grew to $1,228 over the same period, according to NBC figures.
Government forecasts anticipate the Cambodian economy to grow by 7 per cent in 2016, corroborated with projections from the IMF and the ADB of 7.2 per cent growth.
However, the Kingdom will continue to feel the negative impact of lower Chinese growth, affecting investment and the tourism sector, the report added.