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Economic growth estimate cut for 2003

Economic growth estimate cut for 2003

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has cut its estimate for Cambodia's growth this

year from 6 percent to 5 percent. The revised figure, contained in the ADB's regional

economic report released this month, is in line with a general downturn in East Asia.

However the Asia Economic Monitor notes that the reduction in the growth of Cambodia's

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) still puts it up half a percentage point on 2002.

"Among the other countries in the region, this year Cambodia is expected to

improve upon last year's performance and post GDP growth of about five percent,"

the report stated.

The ADB measured the projected growth of East Asia, which it defines as the ten ASEAN

countries as well as China and South Korea. The predicted "modest" regional

dip, lowered from 6.1 percent to 5.6 percent, is largely due to external factors.

"On the external front, the tensions over Iraq have already led to rising economic

uncertainty, decreases in business and consumer confidence and higher oil prices,"

the report stated.

Kim Saysamalen, under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Planning, said despite

Cambodia's revised growth figure, the government would still be able to meet its

poverty reduction goal. It aims to cut the percentage of people living under the

poverty line of 50 cents a day, from 36 percent to 31 percent by 2005.

"Normally we plan 6-7 percent growth a year, but if this year has gone down

to five, next year may need to go up to 7 percent in order to compensate and achieve

poverty reduction," he said.

Of the country's neighbors, Laos and Vietnam, are predicted to see growth of 5.8

percent and 6.7 percent respectively. Thailand's rate is set to drop from 4.9 percent

to 4.1 percent.

Cambodia's GDP was worth around $3.2 billion in 2001.

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