IMF Raises Growth Forecast to 6.5 Percent

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) yesterday raised its growth forecast of the Cambodian economy to 6.5 percent, a rise of 0.3 percent compared to its last estimation in April.

Speaking during a meeting at the Council of Ministers in Phnom Penh, the IMF’s chief of mission to Cambodia, Olaf Unteroberdoerster, told Deputy Prime Minister Sok An that the country had performed better than expected in the tourism, agriculture and construction sectors.

“Economic growth has slowed from China to India, but economic activity [in] Cambodia has held up this year. We expect economic growth to be 6.5 percent this year,” Mr. Unteroberdoerster said.

While China’s manufacturing sector is slowing, Cambodia’s garment industry has continued to grow following a record-breaking year for exports in 2011. The sector has continued to grow this year with exports reaching $2.51 billion during the first seven months of the year, an 8 percent improvement compared to the same period last year.

The tourism sector has also seen an improvement with 2.04 million people entering the country between January and July, according to figures at the Ministry of Tourism.

Ek Tha, deputy director of the Press and Quick Reaction Unit at the Council of Ministers, who was present at the meeting, said Mr. Unteroberdoerster and Mr. An also discussed the possibility of more direct flights to Cambodia and the future of Chevron Corp.’s oil venture in the Gulf of Thailand. Extraction has yet to start because Chevron and the government cannot agree on how much tax the state should earn off the project.

“The deputy prime minister said that this is an important issue and that there should be a joint voice concerning…oil production, taxes, revenues, sharing profits and so forth,” Mr. Tha said.

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