Cambodia Economic Outlook
After expanding 5.3% last year, GDP growth has likely picked up so far this year. In January–February, total tourist arrivals increased eightfold in annual terms, boosting services exports, while hosting the Southeast Asian Games in May further boosted them. Moreover, price pressures fell sharply over Q1, rising in March at the slowest rate in almost eight years, boding well for private consumption. Moreover, strong tax collection in Q1 points to robust activity earlier this year. That said, in January–April, merchandise exports fell 4.9% in annual terms, with the all-important garment industry’s exports continuing to plunge in April. In politics, Cambodia’s election commission disqualified in May the country’s main opposition party from participating in the July elections, alleging that it failed to submit documentation; the governing party is thus likely to win, signaling economic policy continuity.
Inflation decelerated in March to 0.7% (February: 2.2%), driven by lower price pressures for food, a decline in transport prices and a stronger decline in housing prices. Average inflation will ease in 2023, as supply shortages ease and demand moderates. China’s reopening, oil price fluctuations and potential flooding are factors to watch.