Biweekly News Collection No.14

No.14 (January 12, 2020)

Market Industry Trends

Firm set to launch 150MW solar power plants in Kingdom. Jinkosolar Holding Co Ltd has announced it is to supply photovoltaic panels for three solar power plants in Cambodia with a combined capacity of 150MW. Cheetah solar panels will be installed at two photovoltaic power stations in Pursat province’s Krakor district, with capacities of 60MW and 30MW. The third plant, with a capacity of 60MW, will be located in the central province of Kampong Chhnang. The three solar parks will be built in line with the government’s efforts to meet the country’s growing energy demand. Ministry of Mines and Energy spokesman Victor Jona told The Post. He estimated that the solar panels for the three projects were worth some $1million. “These projects are planned to be completed by the end of this year.”At the presentation of Cambodia’s 2020 energy vision last July, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC) director-general Keo Rattanak said Cambodia will expand solar energy investment by 12 % by the end of this year, and increase it to 20% over the next three years. He said the power generated would be used to meet increasing electricity demands in the industrial and commercial sectors. “We want to set up solar power plants in many locations. We believe solar power will provide lower prices.” Meanwhile, a $58 million 60MW solar power plant – a collaboration between JinkoSolar and SchneiTec Group – is under construction in Kampong Speu province. Electricity demand in the Kingdom is expected to increase from 1.5GW to 2.3GW this year, with it reaching 2.8GW next year. In January 2018, Cambodia issued new rules for the integration of solar power. The Kingdom’s electricity demands are currently covered by hydroelectricity and coal power, accounting for around 48% and 47% of generation, respectively. Jona said 150MW of electricity from the Don Sahong Dam in Laos was connected to Cambodia’s national grid on January 7, 2020. (Phnom Penh Post.)

Acleda Bank set to hold three-day listing event. Acleda Bank Plc (Acleda Bank) is to hold a three-day event to inform potential investors of the commercial bank’s viability ahead of its listing on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) later this year. Acleda Bank received principal approval after a Securities Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) review, laying the foundations for CSX listing by late first quarter or early second quarter of this year. It became the first commercial bank to receive principle approval for its initial public offering (IPO), while Phnom Penh Commercial Bank Plc (PPCBank) was the first South Korean commercial bank to achieve the same benchmark. Acleda Bank executive vice-president Buth Bunsayha told The Post on that the bank will hold the event on January 10, 15 and 18, with it “a good opportunity to meet the public and investors”. She said it would allow Acleda Bank to begin its book-building process to determine demand. CSX total market capitalisation could triple with the Acleda Bank IPO, he added. According to the SECC, market capitalisation increased 157 per cent to $800.39 million last year. There are currently five firms listed and trading securities on the CSX, while three financial institutions are listed on the exchange’s corporate bond market. The number of investors increased to 22,338, with 17 per cent of them foreign. Average trading volume was 1,750,502 shares per month, equal to $4,221,490 per month. (Phnom Penh Post.)

PAS revenue shoots up 17.5% last year. The total revenue of Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX)-listed Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) shot up by 17.5% last year, indicating strong growth in its year-on-year business performance. An annual report from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport released on Wednesday said the Port’s total revenue reached some $80 million last year, an increase of 17.5% compared to some $68 million in 2018. Jong Weon Ha, a marketing strategist and CSX’s chief operating officer said PAS’ growth will provide a positive impact to the port’s securities trading and will attract more investors. The ministry’s report also said the number of containers handled at the port also increased by 17 per cent, reaching a total of 633,099 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) by the end of last year compared to 541,228 TEUs in 2018. Total tonnage handled by the ports also increased by 22.6% and reached more than 6.5 million tons compared to some 5.8 million tons in 2018, while the total number of vessels to call at the port rose 15.5% at 1,661 units compared to 1,451 unit in 2018. (Phnom Penh Post.)

Cassava exports grow 27% last year. Cambodia exported 3.29 million tonnes of cassava in 2019, up 27% from 2018’s 2.59 million tonnes, a report of the responsible ministry said. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Veng Sakhon wrote via Facebook that the Kingdom’s export of agricultural products reached more than 6.93 million tonnes, which he estimated to be worth more than $1.9 billion. Battambang provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official Heng Seth told The Post on Thursday that cassava was grown on 112,543ha in the province last year, producing more than 2.8 million tonnes. “Farmers have currently harvested around 40 per cent of total cassava planted. The price of cassava in the province was around 270 riel [$6.6 cents] per kilogramme early this year,” Seth said. A UN Development Programme report said a public investment package of some $296 million is needed for the development of the Kingdom’s cassava sector, citing a lack of focus on domestic processing. The report said Cambodia’s main cassava export destinations are Thailand, Vietnam, China, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Canada, Italy, India and Pakistan. Ministry of Commerce data shows that Cambodian cassava exports were worth $17.8 million in 2017, but fell to $12.6 million in 2018. (Phnom Penh Post.)

Corn industry maintains hope for rebound amid plummeted prices. Total corn exports dropped by more than 40 per cent on 2018 due to last year’s drought and pest damage, industry insiders said. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries data showed that last year the Kingdom exported 119,993 tonnes of red corn – down 41.23 per cent on 2018’s 204,184 tonnes. The exports were mostly to Thailand, Vietnam and Taiwan, according to the data. Corn grower Sok Leng told The Post from Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district that her harvests had halved from 2018 – down to slightly more than 10 tonnes last year from more than 20 tonnes. “Some farmers gave up on the crop last year due to the sharp decrease in yield and prices,” she said. However, she said she continued to grow the crop as she was hopeful of a rebound this year. Most of the Kingdom’s red corn is grown Battambang, Pailin, Kampong Cham and Tbong Khmum provinces. The crop is planted biannually, with the first harvest taking place from late June to August and the second from late October to December.

Ho Chi Minh City’s EVN to become digital business. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s electricity sector has set a target to become a digital business by adopting key technologies such as big data, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the local power system. Electricity of HCM City (EVNHCMC) deputy director-general Nguyen Duy Quoc Viet said: “Technology has drastically changed the power industry. The group is applying advanced technologies to improve production and business activities, enhance labour productivity and reduce costs.” It has adopted state-of-the-art equipment and technologies in power system management and operations, including implementation of hydrological forecasting software, remote controls, and unmanned substations in 110kV-220kV grid systems, he said. The group is also striving to ensure adequate power supply for socio-economic development and environmental protection. (Phnom Penh Post.)

Market Deals

Prince Bank offering perks to companies listed on CSX. The Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX) and Prince Bank Plc have reached a cooperation agreement for the latter to offer loans and fixed deposit rates for companies listed on the bourse. Prince Bank becomes the third commercial bank to provide the special package for listed firms after Canadia Bank and Bank of Investment and Development of Cambodia launched the services last March. (Phnom Penh Post.)

SECC and MKE Group ink MoU to develop capital market. Securities Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC) and Maybank Kim Eng Group (MKE Group) will cooperate to build strong regulatory frameworks and a sound ecosystem to attract more investors and develop the capital market in Cambodia. The MoU is about Cooperation and Technical Assistance Framework between the two. MKE Group, within which is also Maybank Kim Eng Securities, is an award-winning stock and derivatives brokerage firm with over 40 years of experience in Asia. (Phnom Penh Post.)


Cambodia attracts US$3.6bil FDI in 2019, 43% from China. Cambodia attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth nearly US$3.6bil in 2019, up 12% year-on-year, an English-language daily reported on Friday (Jan 10). 43% of last year’s FDI came from China, as 11% from South Korea, 7% from Vietnam, 6% from Singapore, 6% from Japan, and the rest from other nations. The report of NBC forecast that the inflow of FDI into the country will rise 10% in 2020, reaching US$3.9bil. (Cambodia Daily).

Cambodians seeking to invest more abroad. Cambodia’s outward direct investment declined 13.45% during the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018, the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC) Balance of Payments Statistics Bulletin said on Monday. The report said the investment capital reached $81.38 million during the period – down from $94.03 million year-on-year. However, the capital was worth more than $29.89 million in the third quarter, up 11.98% from $26.69 million in 2018’s third quarter, it said. The report did not identify the countries in which Cambodia invests. In 2018, Cambodian outward direct investment was worth more than $122.9 million, up 7.73% from 2017’s $114.08 million, NBC data shows. Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng said on Thursday that Cambodia’s outward direct investment has increased concurrently with foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Kingdom. Cambodia mainly invests abroad in sectors such as finance, real estate, and construction, and the export-import of goods said Heng. “As far as I know, besides the Lao and Myanmar financial sectors that Cambodians currently invest in, more of the Kingdom’s investors are planning to put money in China’s construction sector,” he said. With an open economy and gradual growth, Heng expressed optimism that Cambodian investments abroad will continue to grow, especially in recently booming economies. “Cambodia also encourages its investors to invest abroad,” he said. Though Cambodians mainly invest in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and China, he said, they are seeking investment opportunities in other countries such as Nepal and Bangladesh. (Phnom Penh Post.)

VN Worker shortage a boom for Kingdom’s furniture industry. A shortage of workers in Vietnam – a huge beneficiary of the US trade war with China – is getting severe that some furniture makers are now scouting Cambodia and Bangladesh for factories, said the CEO of Haverty Furniture Co, Clarence Smith. Smith told Bloomberg on Thursday that labour rates in Vietnam are rising and workers are getting increasingly scarce. Haverty Furniture uses Asian factories to make its company-branded products. Even though Asian suppliers continue to source much of the timber they use from the Appalachian region of the US, the manufacturing of wood furniture “is not coming back to the US”, Smith said. Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US was one of the Trump administration’s stated goals in imposing tariffs on Chinese-made goods. For now, most of the disruption is behind them even if the first phase of the US-China trade deal will keep the 25% tariffs on Chinese-made furniture in place, Smith said. (Phnom Penh Post.)

Vietnam gov’t mulls slashing procedures for starting business. Vietnam is strongly considering cutting the procedures needed to start a business this year in an effort to improve the country’s business climate. This was stressed at a Government Office meeting on Jan 6 to discuss solutions to improve the country’s ranking for starting a business evaluated by the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report. Government Resolution No 2 issued on January 1 sets a target for Vietnam to jump up 10-15 spots in the ranking. Vietnam ranked 115th out of 190 economies in facilitating business establishment indicators in 2019, falling 11 spots from 2018, with eight procedures in total. The Government Office plans to submit a proposal to the prime minister to cut the number of procedures by half. (Phnom Penh Post).


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Biweekly News Collection No.13

No.13 (August 15, 2019)

Market Industry Trends

ILO: Cambodia’s footwear sector ripe for investment. Cambodia’s footwear sector will provide more opportunities for investment and production than the garment sector due to significant growth over the last five years, said an International Labour Organisation (ILO) research bulletin on Cambodia’s garment, textile, and footwear (GTF) industry. The bulletin said the footwear sector has grown more rapidly than the garment sector in recent years, adding Cambodia to the list of top 10 footwear export countries in 2016 for the first time. Between 2013 and last year, it said, the footwear sector’s share in Cambodia’s total GTF export value has grown by 4.4% point, while the garment sector’s share has decreased by almost 10% point. Though the global export value of footwear declined between 2015 and 2017, it said, production in the Kingdom increased steadily at an annual average of 27% during the same period. The Kingdom remained in the top 10 footwear exporters, with its exports valued at more than $1 billion last year, a 19% increase from 2017. Cambodia’s main export markets for shoes are the EU (46%), the US (17%), Japan (12%) and Canada (5%). The UK, Germany, and France are the main importers of the Kingdom’s footwear in the EU. (Phnom Penh Post).

New Rice Federation President Says He Will Make Export Push. Cambodia’s rice exports have seemingly reached their peak, as annual exports have failed to reach government targets for the last few years. In early August, the Cambodia Rice Federation (CRF), one of the leading institutions for promoting the industry, elected Song Saran, the CEO of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd – a major rice processing and export company – as its new president. Saran has been involved in the industry since 2011, through the establishment of Amru Rice. In an interview with The Post, Saran said one of the first things he will do as president is to train farmers, whom he called “the foundation” of the industry. “The first thing I would like to do is promote market connectivity for farmers through contract farming, and reduce production costs by encouraging the use of seeds. “We want to implement a principle [for millers] on using their cash flow to buy rice [directly] from farmers during the harvest season. “We’ll explain to millers how to manage their cash flow and expenditure, and prepare their taxes and other paperwork to develop into standard [institutions], which will simplify [the process] when they need loans for investments,” said Saran. He said issues facing the Kingdom’s warehouses and drying silos cannot be overlooked and logistics development needs to be improved for competitiveness. (Phnom Penh Post).

Taiwan curtain producer plan to move to the Kingdom from China. Leading Taiwan-based curtain manufacturer and seller Nien Made Enterprise Co Ltd has revealed plans to expand in Cambodia to avoid the fallout from the Sino-US trade war, the Taipei Times reported on Saturday. Nien Made Enterprise currently operates a window blinds factory in Cambodia. Currently, about one-third of the company’s ready-made products, such as blinds, are made in China, but it plans to gradually shift the bulk of its operations to Cambodia over the next few years. Nien Made Enterprise Co Ltd. A Nien Made Enterprise public relations officer told the Times that the firm will expand its production line in Southeast Asia and will shift orders for finished products from China to Cambodia to avoid the risk of US tariffs. (Phnom Penh Post).

Vietnam’s banks keen on green projects. Green credit is a trend in the global banking and finance industry and more Vietnamese banks are following suit. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV)’s latest survey of credit institutions (CIs) in the field of green growth and green credit released recently showed that the awareness of CIs on green credit has improved significantly. Specifically, 19 CIs have developed strategies for environmental and social risk management while 13 CIs have integrated the content of environmental and social risk management in the process of the green credit assessment. Ten CIs have built credit products and banking services for green sectors and have shown an interest in providing credit for these sectors, mainly in the medium and long term with preferential interest rates for green projects. However, the SBV’s statistics also showed that funding for green projects remained restricted, with only 24% of green projects developed by the banks for the credit appraisal process. (Phnom Penh Post).

More cargos needed to fill Lao-Thai freight train. A newly launched Lao-Thai transit freight train service requires more cargo shipments to be successful. The train can carry 10 to 20 containers in and out of Laos, but it appears that the number of exporters is smaller than that of importers. This is a problem that the parties involved must address by working together. The president of the International Transport Association under the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pachit Xayavong, told Vientiane Times: “Having the freight train service is good. Transport costs will be lower because companies can export more goods at the same time, but this service must have a lot of goods for two-way shipments.” The governments of Laos and Thailand launched the freight train service across the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge on August 1 to facilitate the business sector and boost economic cooperation. Lao products are shipped to Laem Chabang port in Thailand for onward supply to Thai markets or export to other regions. An official responsible for the container yard belonging to the Lao Logistics State Enterprise on Monday said the imbalance in shipments entering and leaving Laos is an issue that needs to be addressed by stakeholders. A lot of goods are being brought into Laos, but little is being sent out of the country. These circumstances might impact the freight business, said the official. But he was optimistic Laos will be able to export more products by freight train in the future. (Phnom Penh Post).

Market Deals

Organic co-ops sign on for contract farming. Six rice agricultural cooperatives signed an agreement on “contract farming” with the Cambodian Agriculture Cooperative Cooperation (CACC) to help organic farmers overcome market limitations. CACC representative Kann Kunthy said he wants to see the Kingdom’s agricultural market improve by promoting organic crops, which have seen an increase in demand. “Through this contract, the community will see some key benefits, such as a market price of between 20-40% [higher than normal crops], the provision of good seeds and other marketing guarantees,” he said. The CACC is a subsidiary of Amru Rice (Cambodia) Co Ltd, a major local rice processor, and exporter. Since its launch in 2017, the CACC has signed “contract farming” agreements with eight rice cooperatives, 10 cassava communities, seven cashew communities, and two pepper communities.(Phnom Penh Post).

Ly Ly Food Industry launches $16M second cracker factory. Ly Ly Kameda Co Ltd, a joint venture between local company Ly Ly Food Industry Co Ltd and Japanese firm Kameda Seika Co Ltd, was officially launched. The $16 million factory, which can produce more than 3,000 tonnes of crackers annually for export, is 49% owned by Ly Ly Food Industry and 51% by Kameda Seika. It employs about 250 workers. Ly Ly Food Industry CEO Keo Mom said the launch of its second cracker factory was a large step for the local firm, as orders continued to grow. “We plan to expand in the coming years as the market continues to gain greater interest,” She said the newly launched factory is equipped with advanced technology and has passed safety and hygiene inspections. Its raw materials are almost exclusively local and its products will all be exported. The plant began trial production in January, exporting one container daily to Australia and New Zealand. Ly Ly Food Industry’s first factory also has a production capacity of more than 3,000 tonnes a year, about 65% of the factory’s products are sold locally while the remaining 35% is exported. The firm is currently seeking more markets in countries such as China, the US, and Canada. (Phnom Penh Post).

ABC inks Visa EMV chip deal. The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) signed an agreement with Visa Inc to provide Visa EMV chips to its member banks and ensure the security of customers’ transactions. In the Kingdom, Visa EMV chips were previously used exclusively at Acleda Bank Plc. Speaking during the signing ceremony, Visa Country Manager for Cambodia Chum Monika said using EMV chip standards would offer local banks and microfinance institutions the highest security for their users. The EMV chip is embedded with microprocessor technology which creates a new transaction code every time the card is used. “As digital payments grow, we are committed to ensuring Cambodians are protected when they make transactions. “Making Visa’s EMV chip standards available to local banks and microfinance deposit-taking institutions will benefit the entire industry,” said Monika. (Phnom Penh Post).

2C2P unveils easy-to-use cross-border remittance service. 2C2P (Cash and Card Payment Processor) is launching “easy2send” – a cross-border money transfer service in collaboration with local and international partners. The Thai subsidiary of Singapore-headquartered payment service firm 2C2P is launching “easy2send” – a cross-border money transfer service in collaboration with local and international partners. Easy2send allows cross-border transactions from Thailand to any country and vice versa. This service is governed under the remittance license from the Bank of Thailand. Users can make remittance requests at more than 10,000 payment outlets, with fees starting from as low as 99 baht ($3.21), and intended recipients will receive their money in real-time. Thailand is home to more than 2.1 million foreign workers and over 90% of them are Myanmar, Lao, and Cambodian nationals. (Phnom Penh Post).


Cambodia-Japan bilateral trade reaches $1B in H1. Bilateral trade between Cambodia and Japan reached more than $1 billion in the first half of this year, up 16% year-on-year, according to data from the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro). Cambodia’s exports to Japan in the first half of this year grew 12% year-on-year to more than $792 million, as imports grew 34% year-on-year to $256 million, the data showed. Two-way trade between the two countries in the first six months of last year reached $897 million, with the Kingdom’s exports at more than $706 million and imports at $191 million. (Phnom Penh Post).

[Cambodian] Consumer credit hits $7B in Q2. The total outstanding balance of consumer credit in Cambodia continued to steadily increase, reaching $7.16 billion by the end of June – a 6.8% increase from the first quarter – according to a Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) report released recently. The number of consumer loan accounts increased by 5.03% quarter-on-quarter, bringing the total number of accounts to 1.19 million, equal to 37.67% of total individual accounts in the market. As of June, non-performing loans after 30 days (NPL 30) fell to 1.19% from 1.24% at the end of March.  The $7.16 billion in outstanding consumer credit accounted for roughly 30.22% of the total outstanding balance of individual loans in the market. However, the report said, the number of customers applying for consumer credit in its three forms – personal finance, credit cards, and mortgages – all dropped 19.29%. The report said the biggest drop was in mortgage applications, which fell by 36% quarter-on-quarter, with the coastal regions seeing the sharpest drop at 49%. (Phnom Penh Post).

Laos to issue a bond to tackle fiscal deficit. The Lao government plans to sell more domestic bonds in the local currency in an attempt to address the fiscal deficit and strengthen the national capital market. Over the past five months of this year, the government has sold 1.13 trillion kips ($130 million) worth of domestic bonds, equal to 28.89% of the amount targeted in the plan for this year, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Finance. The bonds were issued through the Lao Securities Exchange and the Bank of the Lao PDR with an interest rate of 5% for the one-year bond, 5.5% for the two-year bond and 6% for the three-year bond. The government has recognized the potential to mobilize funding from domestic sources, particularly by issuing bonds through the Lao Securities Exchange targeting investors and individuals. (Phnom Penh Post).

Maybank: China’s BRI Investment Jumps in SE Aisa. While geopolitical conditions have not improved much this year, the analysts noted a jump in Chinese investments in the region. Chinese investment and construction contracts in Southeast Asia nearly doubled to $11 billion in H1 of 2019, from $5.6 billion in H2 of 2018. The new BRI contracts for the past six months are largely in Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam, and primarily for transport and energy projects. “ASEAN will likely see a stronger recovery in China’s BRI flows, as other regions push back against China investments,” the analysts added. In contrast, Malaysia, which used to attract the largest BRI flows, has not seen a recovery. Still, it remains the largest recipient of cumulative BRI contracts since 2013, followed by Indonesia and Singapore. The report noted that Malaysia’s new government recently re-negotiated and revived the East Coast Rail Link and Bandar Malaysia projects, which may restart investment flows. The Sino-US trade war is also fuelling the flow of Chinese investments into Southeast Asia as firms move parts of their supply chains to the region to circumvent the higher US tariffs. Maybank analysts say the beneficiaries appear to be Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. Total newly registered foreign direct investment from both China and Hong Kong into Vietnam surged by 200% in the first seven months of this year. Notably, GoerTek, one of Apple’s main contract manufacturers, has invested $260 million to set up a plant in Vietnam to make the popular AirPods wireless earbuds. Tech and the digital economy form another area that is drawing Chinese money into the region said the Maybank report. China Global Investment Tracker noted that Chinese investment in Southeast Asia’s tech sector hit $2.5 billion in the first half of this year, surpassing the amount for the whole of 2017. Maybank analysts expect more of China’s tech money will be diverted into Asean, given US moves to raise barriers and increase scrutiny of Chinese tech investment. They noted that China’s venture capital investment in ASEAN start-ups rose more than fourfold to $667 million in the first half of this year. And the biggest Chinese venture capital firms such as Qiming Ventures and CGV Capital – backed by Alibaba, Xiaomi and Meituan-Dianping – are also opening offices in Singapore. The development and roll-out of 5G mobile networks in Southeast Asia will also see Chinese investments flowing into the region, as ASEAN is generally staying neutral and open to using Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei’s technologies, the analysts added. (Phnom Penh Post).


Biweekly News Collection No.12

No.12 (July 31, 2019)

Market Industry Trends

Logistics set to be next sunrise sector Cambodian logistics sector is set for a robust take-off. Global transport service providers are eyeing the untapped logistics market in the Kingdom that is ideally located and can help in the movement of freight among developing economies in the region. Straddled between Thailand and Vietnam, two robust production hubs in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), Cambodia can play a vital role in regional logistics networks– plugging itself into the international supply chain. Over the last five years, nearly 500 registered logistics companies have started to operate in the country and supported by 13,500 workers. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s master plan, by 2023, the size of the country’s logistics sector is expected to double. (Phnom Penh Post).

Sathapana Bank drives growth through digital transformation. Sathapana Bank has taken a leap into the digital world by embarking on a transformation focused on significant infrastructure investment boosting its technology platform capabilities. “Digital transformation would provide faster and convenient banking for our new and existing customers to get access to finance. We also expect that with our ongoing significant infrastructure investments to boost our technology platform capabilities, our bank will be able to offer more innovative products and services designed to attract more customers to our bank,” Sathapana Bank CEO Lim Aun told The Post in an interview. Sathapana had teamed up with e-mobile operators Wing (Cambodia) Limited Specialised Bank, Pi Pay, TrueMoney, international money transfer agency Western Union and life insurance company Manulife. The partnerships aimed to provide convenience and compelling value proposition for the bank’s customers. (Phnom Penh Post).

Siam Cement Group generates more than $200M in Cambodia. Thailand’s Siam Cement Group Public Company Limited (SCG) generated more than $200 million in the first half of this year on its Cambodian operations, according to a company report. The company earned $226 million in sales revenues, an increase of 11% on the same period last year, with the majority of this derived from its cement business. Some $116 million was generated in the second quarter. With the Kingdom’s construction sector currently booming, Thailand-based SCG has established six subsidiaries in Cambodia all operating in the construction materials field. These include Kampot Cement plant, Concrete Roof Cambodia, CPAC Cambodia, CPAC Plank Cambodia, NAWA-CAM and SCG Trading Company (Cambodia). The firm had recently launched its Interior Solution scheme to strengthen and expand its business in the Kingdom. The scheme provides design and materials specification services, conducted by experienced designers, for both residential and commercial buildings. A total of 2,047 construction projects, worth some $3.39 billion, were approved in the first half of this year, a recent report by the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction showed. This represents a 57.57% increase from the same period last year, which had 1,643 projects worth $2.125 billion.

Farmers called on to up organic vegetable yields. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries and the private sector has called on farmers to increase organic vegetable yields to meet demand from Phnom Penh’s supermarkets and restaurants. The push was made during a visit last week by Gilbert F Houngbo, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) president, to Sa’ang district’s Svay Brateal commune in Kandal province – an area in which growers practice non-chemical and organic farming through an Ifad project. On July 29, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries launched a $100,000 Japanese-funded center. The center is a necessity to boost the production of vegetables guaranteed to be safe – from planting to harvesting, to packaging and selling on the market.  Post previously reported that last year Cambodia consumed 500 tonnes of vegetables per day, at a daily cost of between $200,000 and $300,000. The Kingdom is also estimated to import fruits and vegetables worth more than $300 million annually. (Phnom Penh Post).

Cambodia’s pork sellers suffer as African swine fever fears linger. Cambodia’s pork industry has yet to show signs of recovery since it was hit by African swine fever, pork sellers in Phnom Penh said. The ministry’s General Directorate of Animal Health and Production recently said more than 3,000 pigs were killed or culled in Cambodia due to an outbreak of African swine fever in five provinces, including Ratanakkiri, Tbong Khmum, Svay Rieng, Takeo and Kandal provinces. The Cambodian Pig Raisers Association previously estimated that the disease has caused more than $600,000 in losses to family-owned businesses. (Phnom Penh Post).

Market Deals

Bima, Pi Pay sign MoU to enhance insurance. MILVIK (Cambodia) Micro Insurance Plc, a mobile-based firm which offers health and insurance products to customers in Cambodia, has teamed up with mobile payment app Pi Pay to enhance convenience for its clients. Cambodia’s insurance premiums ratio to gross domestic product is still low. Stunted growth in the insurance sector may stem from factors such as limited awareness and low incomes, which discourage people from buying insurance. With a five-year presence in Cambodia, Bima currently has about 500,000 clients using its services. The Kingdom’s insurance industry generated more than $190 million in gross premiums last year – an increase driven by life insurance of nearly 30% over the previous year, according to the Insurance Association of Cambodia. (Phnom Penh Post).

Japanese Softbank Group unveils investment fund to drive [the] AI revolution. Japan’s SoftBank Group on Friday said it will partner with tech firms including Apple and Microsoft in a new $108-billion investment fund to accelerate the “AI [artificial intelligence] revolution”. The new fund is the long-mooted successor to its mammoth Vision Fund, which has taken stakes in leading tech start-ups from Uber to WeWork. SoftBank Group itself will plow $38 billion into the new fund, which will also include investments from Apple, Microsoft, Foxconn, a range of Japanese banks, Standard Chartered, and the National Bank of Kazakhstan. In a statement, SoftBank Group said Vision Fund 2 would “facilitate the continued acceleration of the AI revolution through investment in market-leading, tech-enabled growth companies”. The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that SoftBank executives brought on board Microsoft with promises to encourage the fund’s roughly 75 companies to shift to the tech firm’s cloud platform. Originally a software giant, SoftBank has increasingly become an investment firm through its first Vision Fund, which was largely backed by Saudi Arabia. The announcement of Vision Fund 2 made no mention of Saudi Arabia among the investors, though reports ahead of the announcement suggested Riyadh was in negotiations to put money into the fund. (Phnom Penh Post).


PM: Gov’t spends $300M per month on infrastructure. The government spends around $300 million per month on infrastructure while earning “$500 million in revenue”, said Prime Minister Hun Sen. Included in the $300 million price tag are “constructions, repairs, and salaries”. Speaking during an inspection on July 29 of the Morodok Techo National Stadium’s construction site, located in Phnom Penh’s Chroy Changvar district, Hun Sen said the Kingdom’s economy is expected to grow 7.1% this year. The prime minister said customs revenue collection this month reached more than $250 million as of the end of last week. “The head of customs told me that [we] have three more days left [of revenue collection]. At an average of $10 million per day, we will reach $280 million this month. Adding other tax and non-tax revenue, this month we will have $500 million,” he said. Hun Sen’s financial disclosures come in response to potential sanctions which may be imposed on Cambodia, such as the US’ Cambodia Democracy Act and suspension of the Kingdom’s preferential access to the EU market under the “Everything But Arms” agreement. (Phnom Penh Post).

IFAD to give $70M agriculture loan. The UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) said it will provide a $70 million loan to the government for an agricultural investment project, said its president Gilbert F Houngbo. During a field visit to a vegetable farm in Kandal province’s Sa’ang district on Saturday, Houngbo told The Post that Ifad will provide the loan for the Sustainable Asset for Agriculture Market, Business and Trade project (Saambat). The Saambat project will focus on infrastructure – including roads that connect farmers to the market, irrigation, as well as training, technology and a market for smallholder farmers in rural areas. “We have discussed [the loan] for the Saambat project, which is investing in agriculture. The loan will be approved in September this year,” said Houngbo. (Phnom Penh Post).

NBC Report: Exports jump to $6.8B, imports hit $10.5B. Cambodia’s total exports during the first half of this year jumped to $6.8 billion, from $6.2 billion during the same period last year. Imports reached $10.5 billion, said the National Bank of Cambodia’s (NBC’s) first-half report. The US market share in the exports was 28%, Europe’s was 26.6%, the UK’s was 6.6% and Japan’s was 7.7%, said the report. Some 46% of imports came from China, 15.6% from Thailand, 13.2% from Vietnam and 4.5% from Japan. Speaking during the NBC’s first-half results meeting on Saturday, director-general Chea Serey said the global economy’s favorable environment has continued to boost the Cambodian economy. However, Cambodia’s exports are far less than its imports. “The ideal scenario is that exports must be more than imports, but in reality, our [import] growth is greater due to higher domestic demand,” said Serey. She said Cambodia must strive to further boost its exports and diversify both products and their destinations. The Kingdom’s main exports include clothing, footwear, bags, electrical equipment, bicycles, and rice. The report said Cambodia’s foreign exchange reserves have also continued to grow gradually. The report shows as of the first half of this year, reserves reached $11.1 billion, which could guarantee 4.9 months’ import cover. (Phnom Penh Post).

US economic growth slows in Q2, 2018 falls below Trump Target. The US economy cooled in the second quarter of this year to a still-solid pace, government data showed, while officials also slashed an economic figure prized by President Donald Trump. Newly revised data covering the past five years now show the world’s largest economy actually slowed in the year after Trump and congressional Republicans pushed through a sweeping, $1.5 trillion tax cut. The change dealt a sharp blow to Trump’s economic message and also highlighted how momentum had deteriorated in the final months of last year when the Federal Reserve (Fed) last raised interest rates in defiance of intense pressure from Trump. The central bank next week is widely expected to cut its benchmark lending rate, reversing December’s increase. The Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product in the April-June quarter slowed to 2.1% from the first three months of the year, down sharply from 3.1% growth in the first quarter, but that was better than expected, helped by strong consumer spending.  withAnalysts had expected second-quarter growth of just 1.8%, but the economy got a boost from strong spending on autos, food, and clothing. (Phnom Penh Post).