Cambodia’s exports surge 18% in Q1

Cambodia’s exports surge 18% in Q1

Showing signs of a clear recovery, Cambodia’s exports reached $6.26 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of the year, a surge of 18 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the trade data released by the General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) yesterday.

Cambodia’s imports too went up, reaching $6.23 billion during the January to March period this year, an increase of 6.4 percent, compared to the same period last year.

The Kingdom’s international trade (exports and imports together) reached $12.49 billion in Q1, 2024, recording a growth of 11.9 percent, year-on-year.

While China continued to be the biggest trading partner of the country in the January to March period of 2024, the US remained its biggest export destination. Trade with China recorded a growth of 12.2 percent, compared to the first three months in 2023, and reached $3.21 billion.

Vietnam is the second biggest trading partner of Cambodia and also its second biggest export destination now. The Kingdom’s trade with the neighbouring country recorded a growth of 24.5 percent to reach $2.32 billion. Trade with the US, the third biggest trading partner, registered a growth of 8.6 percent during the same period and reached $2.04 billion, the data revealed.

It also showed that exports from Cambodia to the US reached $1.98 billion in Q1 this year, rising by 8.9 percent, compared to the same period last year. Exports to Vietnam grew to $1.39 billion, registering an impressive growth of 53 percent.

While the US has a share of 31.7 percent of Cambodia’s exports, Vietnam, which is in the second position, claims a share of 22.2 percent. China, which is in the third position, accounted for $366 million worth of exports from Cambodia, a rise of 11.4 percent, but it accounts for only 5.8 percent of the export market of the Kingdom.

Japan is now the fourth biggest export destination of Cambodia, also accounting for 5.8 percent of the market. The exports to Japan rose by 18.4 percent in the first three months this year, compared to the same period last year and reached $365 million.

While Cambodia imported $2.84 billion worth of goods from China, it imported $933 million worth of goods from Vietnam and just $57 million worth of goods from the US.

Thus, Cambodia has a $2.47 billion trade deficit with China but a surplus of $1.92 billion in trade with the US in the Q1 period of January to March 2024.

The Kingdom also registered a surplus of $458 million in trade with Vietnam. The country has a trade deficit of $551 million with Thailand but recorded a surplus of $223 million with Japan.

It may be noted that in 2023, Cambodia’s international trade declined 1.9 percent compared to 2022. While exports were marginally up by 1.8 percent, the imports showed a decline of five percent.

The Kingdom’s total exports in 2023 stood at $22.64 billion while the imports were estimated at $24.18 billion. The country also recorded a trade deficit of $1.53 billion last year.

The 2023 trade data showed that while most of the exports from Cambodia recorded growth, the main export earner of the garments, footwear and travel goods (GFT) sector struggled throughout 2023 with declining exports that started in the latter half of 2022.

The Q1 2024 data, however, indicates a big turnaround as GFT exports from Cambodia are on a comeback path with exports of knitted apparel articles and clothing accessories registering a growth of 19.9 percent and non-knitted apparel and clothing accessories, 30.8 percent compared to the same period last year.

Exports of footwear articles grew by seven percent and travel goods by 16.5 percent year-on-year.

Exports of edible vegetables, roots and tubers registered a robust growth of 55.2 percent at $407 million and cereals 32.1 percent at $711 million. Rubber and articles made of rubber also brought in $317 million, recording a surge of 88.6 percent.

While speaking with Khmer Times, recently, Ky Sereyvath, Senior Economist and Director General of the Institute of China Studies at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that the recovery made by the global economy is clearly helping the Cambodian exports.

“The world economy is now much better than last year. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector is also on the upward trajectory, indicating a recovery in demand for Cambodian products,” he said. khmertimeskh

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