Looking for signs of Cambodia's recovery: the ox weigh in, and more

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Royal oxen, cousins to the more common variety in the photo, offered their take on Cambodia's agricultural prospects.
(Photo courtesy of dee under a Creative Commons license)
An important new development for economic forecasters happened yesterday. Like every year, a royal oxen predicted the country’s agriculture fortunes (a bit like Groundhog Day  for American readers, this is essentially based on what the oxen does and does not eat): by refusing to eat any of the grain, it raised concerns of a low rice harvest for this year… This would obviously be a bad omen given the many hopes placed on agriculture for weathering the global economic crisis. Other than that, tourist arrivals continue to slow down (and the low season will now start as the rain comes) and garment exports remain way below last year’s level.

So any good news since my last post on this and the release of the Cambodia Economic Watch? Yes, a few.


  • First, the government has now more clearly articulated its concerns about the economic situation and its initial response, which covers a range of issues (macroeconomic tools, but also some funding to provide credit to farmers and training to laid-off workers).
  • Second, I get the feeling that some construction activities are more active now, at least in Phnom Penh where I live.
  • Third, despite the oxen’s predictions, I am told that the rice dry season was quite good and that the rain that came rather early this year is good for farmers.

Let me know if you see good or bad signs for Cambodia's economic growth: the question has now moved from "whether" the country was vulnerable to "how long" the down time will last.

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