Development Bank Predicts 3 Percent Growth

The Asian Development Bank has forecasted that Cambodia’s economic growth in 1998 will reach only 3 percent, according to Bloomberg news service.

Finance officials have confirmed the growth of the country’s gross domestic product will not meet the 3.5 percent target. Finance Minister Keat Chhon told Reuters on Friday that the gross domestic product will fall below 3 percent this year.

“We will not reach the 3.5 percent we want, for sure,” he said. “We will have less than 3 percent.”

Neither he nor Finance Min­istry adviser Aun Porn Moniroth would reveal the government’s revised GDP target for 1998.

Keat Chhon blamed both internal and external factors, including poor rice yields. He also noted the tourism industry, which was hit hard by the July 1997 fighting and subsequent political instability, had not recovered as hoped.

About 13,400 visitors arrived in Cambodia last month, a 12 percent increase from the same time last year and an 15 percent rise from September.

“We expected an increase in the number of tourists coming but it hasn’t happened as we expected,” Keat Chhon said.

The economy grew by 6.5 percent in 1996 and looked set to reach similar levels in 1997 before the factional fighting in July 1997 and the Asian economic crisis.

In 1997 the economy grew by just 2 percent.

The ADB forecasted the 1999 GDP at 4 percent. Aun Porn Moniroth would not predict 1999 GDP, but said it would rise if the political situation stabilizes and economic policies are effective.

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