Businesspeople and tourists can now conveniently exchange the Kingdom’s national currency, the riel, at Singapore’s Changi Airport, following a partnership between the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) and Travelex, a leading foreign exchange brand.

Travelex announced on October 16 that it will initially offer riel exchange services at terminals 2 and 3 of the airport, a major transportation hub in Asia and a gateway to Cambodia. Both Cambodia Angkor Air and Cambodia Airways have been operating flights between the Kingdom and Changi, further facilitating this exchange.

Customers at the airport will have the opportunity to buy and sell Cambodian riel in exchange for various currencies, including the European euro, Japanese yen and the Singaporean, US and Australian dollars.

“Travelex’s investment in the Khmer riel, and its decision to trade the currency in one of Asia’s most prominent financial hubs, represents a key development for the currency. [This] means the riel is now available to be traded with other currencies in Singapore for the very first time,” a company statement said.

Dragon Wang, commercial director of Travelex Asia, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, highlighting its benefits for travellers to and from the country.

“We’re delighted to be supporting Cambodia’s national currency and wider economy by enabling the exchange of riel at Changi Airport. Providing riel … will, first and foremost, afford people travelling both to and from Cambodia greater convenience in exchanging riel than ever before. We are also really proud to be playing our part in Cambodia’s journey in raising the riel’s impact and availability,” he said.

The NBC and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) formalised their collaboration through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on July 11, as stated in a joint statement by the two central banks.

This initiative, known as Financial Trade Connectivity (FTC), enables Singaporean financial institutions to access trusted information from Cambodian financial institutions when supporting cross-border transactions between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Similarly, Cambodian financial institutions can obtain reliable information on Singaporean buyers through the FTC, facilitating broader digital trade networks such as the Business Sans Border Proxtera global network and enhancing trade connectivity within ASEAN and other growth regions.

According to Cambodia’s General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE), exports to Singapore surged over 6.5 times in the first eight months of 2023, reaching $476.9 million from $72.8 million in the same period in 2022.

Cambodia imported goods valued at $625.8 million from Singapore, marking a 78.3% decrease from the previous year.

The total bilateral trade volume for this period amounted to $1.1 billion, compared to $2.96 billion in the first eight months of 2022.

Singapore now ranks as Cambodia’s sixth-largest international trading partner, following China, the US, Vietnam, Thailand and Japan.