Archive for August, 2008

S Korean student donates $6,000

The Phnom Penh Post – August 28, 2008

Written by Cheang Sokha

A South Korean student has raised and donated $3,000 each to the National Paediatric Hospital (NPH) and Centre for Children’s Happiness (CCH) to help sick and orphaned children in Cambodia. Soo-ah Lee, who began raising the money 10 months ago in the United States, where she is studying, spent a few days in Cambodia last week to donate the money as well as stationery to the two organisations.

August 29, 2008 at 7:37 am Leave a comment

Phnom Penh’s real estate boom

Property Report – Opinion and Analysis 27/08/08

Phnom Penh is being heralded by many as SE Asia’s latest property hotspot.
by Stephen Small

Phnom Penh is being heralded by many as SE Asia’s latest property hotspot. The real estate market appears to be growing exponentially, but can the country’s fledgling market economy sustain such rapid expansion?

Click here for full article…

August 28, 2008 at 7:49 am Leave a comment

NZ successfully completes Asean trade negotiations

NZPA – August 28, 2008

New Zealand and Australia have successfully completed free-trade negotiations with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

The announcement of a deal came in a statement today during annual talks by economic ministers of the 10-member Asean.

NZPA understands the deal includes the eventual elimination of tariffs on New Zealand’s meat and dairy exports and could be signed by the end of the year.

It is understood there are still some outstanding issues between some of the other countries, but it was hoped they would be worked out at a bilateral level before the deal was signed.

A sean economies, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Cambodia, represent a market of more than 575 million people.

The bloc represents a global total trade of over $NZ2010 billion and was New Zealand’s third largest export market for merchandise goods in the year to June 2008 — worth $4.6 billion.

New Zealand’s trade with the region has been growing at 24 percent per year for the past three years.

Trade Minister Phil Goff has previously said the benefits of the deal are not only economic. It also meets New Zealand’s strategic goal of being an integral part of the regionalisation under way in the Asia-Pacific area.

August 28, 2008 at 6:53 am Leave a comment

Cambodia to export rice to Brunei

August 28, 2008

PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): President of the Alliance of Cambodian Rice Millers Association Phuoy Puy said Cambodia is preparing to export 50,000 to 70,000 tons of high quality rice to Brunei, local newspaper the Cambodia Daily reported Thursday.

Phuoy Puy said that he and Rural Development Bank President Sun Kunthor met Brunei Finance Ministry Secretary-General Dato Tado Kahazi Alidine Hazaipong on Tuesday, the newspaper said.

The Brunei official said that so far, his country have purchased rice from Vietnam and Thailand, but now wishes to buy rice in Cambodia, Phuoy Puy said.

The Brunei Finance Ministry secretary-general also met Cambodia ‘s Finance Minister Keat Chhon on Monday to discuss the plan and request Keat Chhon to help facilitate the export process, according to the newspaper.

Keat Chhon said they discussed possible Brunei investment in Cambodia in the future.

August 28, 2008 at 6:42 am Leave a comment

Thai military cancels talks with Cambodia on border dispute

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) — Amid mass protests in Bangkok, the Thai military has canceled bilateral talks with Cambodia over the border dispute near the Preah Vihear temple scheduled for Friday in Siem Reap town, local newspaper reported Thursday, citing Cambodian officials.

Defense Ministry Secretary of State Neang Phat told the Cambodia Daily that he learned Wednesday morning of the last-minute cancellation of the talks.

As Cambodian officials gathered Wednesday in Siem Reap town to prepare for Friday’s talks, Neang Phat said they received an emergency call from the 30-member Thai delegation, which had already arrived in Siem Reap.

The two groups held an immediate meeting at the Century Hotel, and, at the Thai military’s request, agreed to postpone Friday’s meeting because of the protests in Bangkok, Neang Phat said.

Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Ministry press officer Apirat Sugondhabhirom said the military had only informed the Thai government of the canceled negotiations Wednesday, but he downplayed the Bangkok demonstrations as the reason for the delay, the newspaper said.

The Preah Vihear Temple straddles the Cambodian-Thai border atop the Dangrek Mountain and was listed as a World Heritage Site on July 7 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice decided that the 11-century temple and the land around belong to Cambodia, which rankled the Thais and has led to continuous disputes.

 

Editor: Du

August 28, 2008 at 3:41 am Leave a comment

Inflation tops 25pc in first half of year; growth to slow

The Phnom Penh Post – August 25, 2008

Written by Nguon Sovan and Kay Kimsong

Foreign interest in Cambodia’s economy remains strong, but the National Bank is working to cool lending for big projects, enhance microfinance

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Rick valenzuela
Roth Ven fills a jerry can with oil outside a garage on Sothearos Boulevard, across from the site of the multipurpose International Finance Centre, on Sunday. New building projects have fuelled strong economic growth but Cambodia remains plagued by record high inflation.

INFLATION rocketed to more than 25 percent in the first half of the year, driven by unprecedented lending and higher investment, as well as rising global commodities prices, according to the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).

The bank’s biannual report, released on August 14, also projected economic growth would slow to 7.2 percent this year as declines in the garment and construction industries are expected to overshadow the continued rise in tourism.

At the end of the June, gross foreign reserves rose to US$2.2 billion – a 24 percent increase since the beginning of the year and a 62 percent rise over the first half of 2007. Commercial bank deposits held at the NBC, a component of international reserves, rose by $141 million, the report said.  

“International investors see political stability and economic growth. Development has been tremendous within the past decade,” NBC Director General Chea Chanto told the Post in an earlier interview.

The downside of robust foreign direct investment, however, was a 25.1 percent inflation rate over the year’s first half, a dramatic increase from 6.0 percent and 9.7 percent in the first and second halves of 2007, respectively, as reported by the bank.    

Loans to the private sector by banks and other financial institutions were 83 percent higher in the first half compared with the same period last year. In response, the NBC raised capital reserve requirements in June from 8-16 percent to battle inflation by tightening credit and money supplies and to give banks a hedge against risk.

“The NBC is well aware of the challenges that private sector growth and foreign investment could pose for the stability of the banking sector…. We have observed demand pressure led by increased capital inflows and a resultant sharp credit growth that has contributed to excess liquidity. The new measure on reserve requirements attempts to mop up excess liquidity and … ease the demand pressure on inflation,” Chea Chanto said.

He said that, in the wake of recent spikes in bank lending, “particular efforts are being applied to monitoring the credit risk assessment of banks to ensure that banks are correctly grading loans and making sufficient provisions”.

‘A global problem’
The report also attributed high inflation rates to rising global costs of commodities and oil.

“This matter is a global problem. The price of crude oil, food prices and the low value of the dollar have all contributed to inflation. Cambodia – as a small, open economy and a price taker – has been very much affected by such developments,” Chea Chanto said.

Gross customer deposits were 26 percent higher in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, and the total number of deposit accounts increased from 456,026 in 2007 to 639,522 accounts as of June 2008.

The riel remained stable in the first half, fluctuating between 4,001 riels and 4,124 riels to the US dollar, according the NBC’s tabs. The report also said rural finance in Cambodia continued to expand in size and scope and has played a critical role in the development of agriculture, as well as small and medium enterprises.


“Development has been tremendous within the past decade.”


Microfinance institutions and registered rural credit operators issued loans to 673,725 customers totaling $212 million in the first half, a dollar increase of 73 percent over the same period last year, according to the NBC.

Deposits with microfinance institutions rose 31 percent over the same period last year to $5.7 million. “Currently, the NBC is enhancing the framework for microfinance institutions to accept deposits,” Chea Chanto said.

Chea Chanto told the Post that countrywide access to the formal banking and finance sector was a priority for the bank, in order to protect rural people from being “cheated … in the countryside with high interest rates from informal money lenders”.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BRENDAN BRADY

August 28, 2008 at 2:59 am Leave a comment

First property expo set for October

The Phnom Penh Post – August 27, 2008

Written by Nguon Sovan and Hor Hab

Hopes are high event will spur interest in housing market

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CAMBODIA’S booming real estate market is attracting record interest from property companies with the Kingdom’s first-ever real estate expo scheduled for October.

Whale Event Management, a member of Whale Group, expects to be at full capacity when it kicks off the three-day exposition on October 3 at Phnom Penh’s Mondial Center,  said Sorn Sovattey, senior sales executive for Whale Event Management.

“We expect to have 31 real estate companies registering for the expo, because we have only 31 booths,” Sorn Sovattey told the Post.

She said the expo will focus on city developers, realtors, property agents and property development consultants. It will also feature a growing field of designers, contractors and urban planners.

Luxury and high-end real estate developers are especially interested in the Kingdom, which has so far remained sheltered from the property market turmoil in Vietnam and stagnation in Thailand.

“The event is a good chance to gather all real estate companies together, which is easy for customers to see,” she said. “It is a premium and high-class expo, which is expected to attract about 40,000 businesspeople, company bosses and customers.”

Exhibitors can choose from five categories of booths: diamond, costing US$20,000 for three days, gold ($10,000), silver ($8,000), platinum ($6,000) and standard booths ($2,500).

“The real estate market is improving with a lot of satellite cities,” Sorn Sovattey said. “After the 2008 election, the trend will go further.”

Nhem Sothea, marketing manager of the Grand Phnom Penh International City, one of the capital’s housing mega-projects, said the expo would give developers a chance to reach a wider audience.

“It is a good chance to display real estate products such as house styles, villas, business centers,” he said Monday.  

Others said the event would allow potential customers to get an overview of Phnom Penh’s rapidly evolving housing market by talking directly with developers and real estate agents.

“Customers can see the styles of houses that they prefer and negotiate prices,” said Mao Thora, an undersecretary at the Commerce Ministry.

But some realtors have complained that the expo fees are too high and that the event was not planned far enough in advance.

In Sitha, general manager of Sovannaphum Realty, told the Post that his company would visit the event, but not join as an exhibitor.

“My company focuses on land speculation and building development, but I don’t have any interest displaying at the expo. We have [other] ways to promote our products, and the expo schedule is too early to arrange for it,” he said.

Sung Bonna, president of Bonna Realty Group, said that the initiative is good for the Cambodian market, but timing and costs could curb participation.

“My company has not made a decision yet…. The price for exhibiting is also too high for Cambodia’s standards,” he said.

Sorn Sovattey acknowledged that it was too early to tell how successful Cambodia’s inaugural property expo would be, said she hoped it would be a top draw for the market.

“It is too early, of course, but we hope all real estate companies can participate,” she said.

August 28, 2008 at 2:49 am 1 comment

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