October 11, 2011

Cambodia slashes growth forecast in 2011 to 6%


PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia slashed economic growth forecast this year to 6 percent due to the worst flood devastation and uncertainty of the economies of the United States and the European countries, said Cambodian minister of finance Keat Chhon on Tuesday.

"Originally, we predicted 7 percent growth this year, but due to the worst floods and uncertainty of the economies of the United States and the European countries, which have affected our product exports, we revise our growth forecast to 6 percent this year," he said at the 2011 Trade and Investment Conference: Global Challenges, Cambodia's Responses.

He said that the industrial sector was projected to grow at around 8.5 percent this year, compared with 13.6 percent in 2010; agriculture would see growth of 3.6 percent, compared with 4 percent in 2010.

The minister said the average annual inflation stood at around 5.5 percent this year.

The Mekong River and flash floods have submerged 19 cities and provinces in Cambodia since early August. Nhim Vanda, the first vice president of the National Committee for Disaster Management, said on Monday that the floods had killed at least 207 people and affected about 1.2 million people.

More than 300,000 hectares of rice paddies have been affected and other 100,000 hectares of rice paddies were completely damaged, he said.

Some 600 houses were swept away by floods and other 196,600 houses, 1,132 schools and 400 Buddhist pagodas are inundated, he said, adding that some 180 kilometers of national roads and around 1,800 kilometers of gravel roads have been affected.

"It's estimated that the damage from floods this year seems comparable to the year 2000 of 161 million U.S. dollars," said Nhim Vanda.

Keat Chhon said the country's growth in 2012 is projected to be 6.5 percent and the inflation will be contained within 5 percent.

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