Cambodian PM says economy to shrink 1.9 pc this year due to COVID-19 impact

PHNOM PENH (XINHUA) – Cambodia’s economy is predicted to shrink 1.9 per cent this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen has said.

“Cambodia’s economy in 2020 is expected to contract by 1.9 per cent, which is the slowest ever growth,” he said in a circular on budget planning for 2021-2023, according to local report reports.

He said due to the pandemic, the Southeast Asian country has experienced a huge decline in demand from its trading partners.

The kingdom’s growth heavily relies on garment and footwear exports, tourism, construction and real estate, and agriculture, and due to the pandemic, garment and footwear exports and tourism have been hit the hardest.

However, Hun Sen is optimistic that the country’s economy will bounce back to 3.5 per cent in 2021 thanks to the gradual recovery of global economy and external demand.

Cambodia’s Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen. PHOTO: XINHUA

He said inflation is predicted to be at a manageable level of 2.8 per cent this year and slightly up to 3.1 per cent next year due to the projected rise in an international oil price.

The World Bank said in its latest report late last month that Cambodia’s economy is likely to shrink between one per cent and 2.9 per cent this year, which is the slowest growth since 1994.

It said the pandemic will put at risk 1.76 million Cambodian jobs from losses in tourism, manufacturing and construction, which together account for more than 70 per cent of growth and almost 40 per cent of employment.

Cambodia has so far confirmed a total of 126 cases of COVID-19, with 125 patients cured and one remained hospitalised, according to the Ministry of Health.