Friday, October 9, 2009

Cambodia's reserves top $2.5 bln: PM

Cambodia's reserves top $2.5 bln: PM
AFP - Friday, October 9
(Post by CAAI News Media)

PHNOM PENH (AFP) - – Cambodia's foreign currency reserves have topped the 2.5 billion dollar mark despite forecasts that the country's economy will contract this year, the premier said Thursday.

Hun Sen revealed in a speech that the country has increased its international reserves by 21.48 percent since the end of last year, when they stood at just over two billion US dollars.

"Despite receiving the impact of the global economic and financial crisis, we can ensure international reserves will continue increasing remarkably," he said.

"As of the end of August 2009, calculated international reserves had reached 2,522 million US dollars," he added, in the speech marking 30 years since Cambodia rebuilt its national bank that was destroyed under the Khmer Rouge.

After several years of double-digit growth fuelled mainly by tourism and garment exports, Cambodia was buffeted by 2008's global economic downturn.

Last month the International Monetary Fund predicted Cambodia's economy will contract 2.75 percent this year amid the slowdown, but praised the national bank for its supervision of commercial banks hit by non-performing loans.

Cambodia remains a largely cash-only economy and a high degree of mistrust keeps many people hoarding their money at home, but Hun Sen said that confidence was growing and more people were using banks.

Nearly one third of Cambodia's 14 million people survive on only 50 US cents a day or less.

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