China has done a lot to support Cambodia over the years with millions of dollars in aid, loans and investment. But after reports this week that China has pledged another $500 million in soft loans and grants—and publicly thanked Cambodia for its support in Southeast Asia—Cambodian officials want to be sure no one suspects the little country is falling too much under China’s sway.
Cheam Yeap, chairman of the Commission on Economy, Finance, Banking and Audit at the Cambodian National Assembly, said China’s loans have nothing to do with Cambodia’s recent support for China in disputes involving the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by China and several Southeast Asian states. That backing includes a now-famous episode in July when members of the Association of Southeast Asian nations failed to reach a consensus on how to resolve conflicts in the sea at their latest summit in Phnom Penh, failing even to issue their customary joint communiqué at the end…
Stevia Nutra Corporation — (The Company), an Agro-Management company focused on stevia agronomics is pleased to announce that it has successfully acquired 50 acres of prime agricultural land in Cambodia for its new innovative Stevia Propagation Centre (SPC).
The property is located just outside the town of Kampong Speu, in close proximity to the country’s capital city and commercial hub of Phnom Penh, and the coastal port of Sihanoukville. This advantageous location is expected to provide the Company with lucrative import and export opportunities…
Manufacturing activity in China and across a wide swath of Asia slowed in May, heightening fears that the turmoil in Western economies is dragging down one of the few remaining engines of global growth.
Two purchasing managers indexes for China fell in May, briefly rattling investors Friday and stoking talk Beijing may have to respond aggressively to support growth. Indonesia posted its first trade deficit in nearly two years, and South Korea’s exports, considered a bellwether for Asia, unexpectedly fell for a third straight month.
“The crisis in Europe is one reason; the other one is the China slowdown. But I think less appreciated is that the height of uncertainty about the outlook has caused Asian firms and multinationals in Asia to pause in their investments”… [said Rob Subbaraman, chief Asia economist at Nomura Securities.] …
Michael Arnold and Tom Orlik
April 12th, 2012, Wall Street Journal
PHNOM PENH—In its home country, the Cambodian riel has long played second fiddle to the U.S. dollar—but a new stock exchange and government de-dollarization policies could bolster it in coming years, policy makers and experts say.
Dollars change hands with greater frequency than riel in the capital city, though both are universally accepted. Some taxi drivers say they prefer the U.S. currency simply because it means handling fewer bills; there are 4,000 riel to the dollar.
A 2011 report from the International Monetary Fund estimated that dollars make up about 80% of Cambodia’s money supply, up from less than 70% a decade ago.
That worries the National Bank of Cambodia because it renders monetary policy ineffective as a brake or cushion for the economy. …
Tiny Cambodia is emerging as a key pawn in the diplomatic struggle over one of the world’s busiest stretches of water: the potentially energy-rich South China Sea.
The country of 15 million people is this year hosting a series of regional summits in which China’s claims to the waters could loom large. Its sea tussles with countries such as Vietnam and the Philippines has raised security fears in an already jittery region. The U.S. has further angered China by saying it wants to keep the South China Sea, which carries around half the world’s total trade, free and open to navigation.
Ahead of a summit by leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations next week. China’s President Hu Jintao is embarking on his own four-day state visit to Cambodia Friday in what some analysts interpret as a not-so-subtle reminder of where the host nation’s sympathies should lie, and a ploy to encourage Cambodia to play down the South China Sea controversy wherever possible.
Cambodia is the latest Asian country to have its ties to China come under closer scrutiny. China for years has been the biggest provider of foreign aid and investment in Cambodia. Chinese investors have transformed Phnom Penh’s skyline with ever-taller buildings and Chinese tourists flock to the country’s burgeoning casinos. …
PHNOM PENH — Cambodia’s low-rise capital city is reaching for the sky—again. Long known as one of the last major Asian cities without a skyline, Phnom Penh embarked on a high-rise building boom in the middle of the last decade, only to see it derailed by the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009…
Among the most prominent projects is Vattanac Capital Tower, a 38-story, $170 million office, retail and serviced-apartment development under construction downtown. Its developer, a local company called Vattanac Properties that has investments in industrial and golf properties, says the building should be finished later this year, and will include a host of amenities not commonly associated with Cambodia, including luxury boutiques, 29 elevators and five-star service for its serviced apartments.
…The developer is targeting tenants such as securities firms affiliated with Cambodia’s stock exchange, which officially launched last year even though there weren’t any companies ready to be listed. It is expected to expand this year.