Cambodia Retains Growth Forecast at 5.6 pct This Year: PM

This aerial photo taken on Oct. 28, 2022 shows the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville (PPSHV) Expressway in Kampong Speu Province, Cambodia. Photo: PPSHV Expressway/Handout via Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia maintained its economic growth prediction at 5.6 percent in 2023 and raised it to 6.6 percent in 2024, the country's Prime Minister Hun Manet said here on Thursday.

The Southeast Asian nation's economy is mainly driven by garment, footwear and travel goods exports, tourism, agriculture and real estate and construction.

"With its high growth and economic diversification, Cambodia has set the ambitious goals of becoming an upper middle-income country by 2030, and an advanced economy by 2050," he said in his opening speech at the 2023 Cambodia Outlook Conference.

Hun Manet said the kingdom is projected to graduate from a least developed country status by 2027.

Meanwhile, he said Cambodia has been expanding its export markets to different countries in the region, particularly to the ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) countries, gradually reducing its almost total reliance on the markets of the United States and Europe.

The World Bank said in its semi-annual outlook for Cambodia on Wednesday that the country's growth remained robust despite external and domestic headwinds.

The lender said the kingdom's real GDP growth is expected to achieve 5.4 percent in 2023 and pick up to 5.8 percent in 2024, on anticipated increases in infrastructure investment and benefits from regional free trade agreements.

Cambodia is currently a member of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. Besides, the kingdom also has bilateral free trade agreements with China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

"Looking ahead, economic growth could further be affected by weakening global demand or renewed oil and food price shocks," the World Bank said. "Domestically, rising household debt and domestic credit in the real estate sector remain risks."

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