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Foreign Fixed Investment Falls Mid-Year

The total fixed investment of 13 countries involved in Cambodia fell at least $3.2 billion in mid-2009, about three quarters of its total value, according to official figures.

Investment fell from $4.42 billion in mid-2008 to $1.22 billion for the same period this year, the Council for the Development of Cambodia reported. Officials say the economic downward shares the blame with an overall decrease in a large number of high-dollar projects in 2008.

“But through mid-2009, there have been no such kind of investments,” said Yun Heng, deputy director of the CDC’s department for evaluation and incentives in investment.

In 2008, investors brought in money for giant city construction projects, garments and tourism, most of it from China and South Korea, Cambodia’s top two investment partners.

And with investment from both countries declining, the overall investment figures dropped severely.

Fixed investment from China dropped from $3.86 billion to $242.4 million between mid-2008 and mid-2009. In that period, investment from South Korea dropped from $258 million to $109 million. At the same time, investment fell $6.8 million from Taiwan and $4 million from Britain.

The downturn hit tourism hard, according to the CDC, dropping from $4.1 billion to $354 million in the mid-year periods. Industrial investment fell $152.1 million, and in telecommunications and services $137 million.

Agricultural investment rose during the yearlong period, up by $260.5 million in mid-2009. And while large investment projects have declined, there are many smaller projects on the increase.

Russian investment rose from $9.5 million to $234.7 million, and Thai investments went from $22.8 million to $178 million. Vietnamese investment climbed by $97.5 million, along with a rise in Singaporean investment of $41.8 million.

Lee Bien Cuong, the commercial councilor at the Vietnamese Embassy, said that companies in his country were interested in Cambodian investments in spite of the economic crisis.

“The relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam is getting better, so more and more Vietnamese companies are investing in Cambodia,” he said.

This year has also seen the addition of new investors, including those from France, Spain, Japan, Indonesia and Hong Kong. There were no investors from Canada, the US, Malaysia or Australia, as there had been in 2008.

Yun Heng said the mid-year figures were not a negative sign overall, and he expects the number to grow next year.