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Vietnam vs. Cambodia

Economy

VietnamCambodia
Economy - overview

Vietnam is a densely populated developing country that has been transitioning since 1986 from the rigidities of a centrally planned, highly agrarian economy to a more industrial and market based economy, and it has raised incomes substantially. Vietnam exceeded its 2017 GDP growth target of 6.7% with growth of 6.8%, primarily due to unexpected increases in domestic demand, and strong manufacturing exports.

Vietnam has a young population, stable political system, commitment to sustainable growth, relatively low inflation, stable currency, strong FDI inflows, and strong manufacturing sector. In addition, the country is committed to continuing its global economic integration. Vietnam joined the WTO in January 2007 and concluded several free trade agreements in 2015-16, including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (which the EU has not yet ratified), the Korean Free Trade Agreement, and the Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement. In 2017, Vietnam successfully chaired the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference with its key priorities including inclusive growth, innovation, strengthening small and medium enterprises, food security, and climate change. Seeking to diversify its opportunities, Vietnam also signed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Transpacific Partnership in 2018 and continued to pursue the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

To continue its trajectory of strong economic growth, the government acknowledges the need to spark a ‘second wave’ of reforms, including reforming state-owned-enterprises, reducing red tape, increasing business sector transparency, reducing the level of non-performing loans in the banking sector, and increasing financial sector transparency. Vietnam’s public debt to GDP ratio is nearing the government mandated ceiling of 65%.

In 2016, Vietnam cancelled its civilian nuclear energy development program, citing public concerns about safety and the high cost of the program; it faces growing pressure on energy infrastructure. Overall, the country’s infrastructure fails to meet the needs of an expanding middle class. Vietnam has demonstrated a commitment to sustainable growth over the last several years, but despite the recent speed-up in economic growth the government remains cautious about the risk of external shocks.

Cambodia has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade; GDP grew at an average annual rate of over 8% between 2000 and 2010 and about 7% since 2011. The tourism, garment, construction and real estate, and agriculture sectors accounted for the bulk of growth. Around 700,000 people, the majority of whom are women, are employed in the garment and footwear sector. An additional 500,000 Cambodians are employed in the tourism sector, and a further 200,000 people in construction. Tourism has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year in 2007 and reaching 5.6 million visitors in 2017. Mining also is attracting some investor interest and the government has touted opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems.

 

Still, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, and long-term economic development remains a daunting challenge, inhibited by corruption, limited human resources, high income inequality, and poor job prospects. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the percentage of the population living in poverty decreased to 13.5% in 2016. More than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure.

 

The World Bank in 2016 formally reclassified Cambodia as a lower middle-income country as a result of continued rapid economic growth over the past several years. Cambodia’s graduation from a low-income country will reduce its eligibility for foreign assistance and will challenge the government to seek new sources of financing. The Cambodian Government has been working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs; more than 20% of the government budget will come from donor assistance in 2018. A major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance.

 

Textile exports, which accounted for 68% of total exports in 2017, have driven much of Cambodia’s growth over the past several years. The textile sector relies on exports to the United States and European Union, and Cambodia’s dependence on its comparative advantage in textile production is a key vulnerability for the economy, especially because Cambodia has continued to run a current account deficit above 9% of GDP since 2014.

GDP (purchasing power parity)
$648.7 billion (2017 est.)
$607.4 billion (2016 est.)
$571.9 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$64.21 billion (2017 est.)
$60.09 billion (2016 est.)
$56.18 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - real growth rate
6.8% (2017 est.)
7.16% (2017 est.)
6.2% (2016 est.)
6.9% (2017 est.)
7% (2016 est.)
7% (2015 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)
$6,900 (2017 est.)
$6,600 (2016 est.)
$6,200 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

$4,000 (2017 est.)
$3,800 (2016 est.)
$3,600 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP - composition by sector
agriculture: 15.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 33.3% (2017 est.)
services: 51.3% (2017 est.)
agriculture: 25.3% (2017 est.)
industry: 32.8% (2017 est.)
services: 41.9% (2017 est.)
Population below poverty line
8% (2017 est.)
16.5% (2016 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 26.8% (2014)
lowest 10%: 2%
highest 10%: 28% (2013 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
3.5% (2017 est.)
2.7% (2016 est.)
2.9% (2017 est.)
3% (2016 est.)
Labor force
54.659 million (2019 est.)
8.913 million (2017 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
agriculture: 40.3%
industry: 25.7%
services: 34% (2017)
agriculture: 48.7%
industry: 19.9%
services: 31.5% (2013 est.)
Unemployment rate
3.11% (2018 est.)
2.2% (2017 est.)
0.3% (2017 est.)
0.2% (2016 est.)

note: high underemployment, according to official statistics

Distribution of family income - Gini index
34.8 (2014)
37.6 (2008)
37.9 (2008 est.)
41.9 (2004 est.)
Budget
revenues: 54.59 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 69.37 billion (2017 est.)
revenues: 3.947 billion (2017 est.)
expenditures: 4.354 billion (2017 est.)
Industries
food processing, garments, shoes, machine-building; mining, coal, steel; cement, chemical fertilizer, glass, tires, oil, mobile phones
tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
Industrial production growth rate
8% (2017 est.)
10.6% (2017 est.)
Agriculture - products
rice, coffee, rubber, tea, pepper, soybeans, cashews, sugar cane, peanuts, bananas; pork; poultry; seafood
rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava (manioc, tapioca), silk
Exports
$214.1 billion (2017 est.)
$176.6 billion (2016 est.)
$11.42 billion (2017 est.)
$10.07 billion (2016 est.)
Exports - commodities
clothes, shoes, electronics, seafood, crude oil, rice, coffee, wooden products, machinery
clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
Exports - partners
US 20.1%, China 14.5%, Japan 8%, South Korea 6.8% (2017)
US 21.5%, UK 9%, Germany 8.6%, Japan 7.6%, China 6.9%, Canada 6.7%, Spain 4.7%, Belgium 4.5% (2017)
Imports
$202.6 billion (2017 est.)
$162.6 billion (2016 est.)
$14.37 billion (2017 est.)
$12.65 billion (2016 est.)
Imports - commodities
machinery and equipment, petroleum products, steel products, raw materials for the clothing and shoe industries, electronics, plastics, automobiles
petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
Imports - partners
China 25.8%, South Korea 20.5%, Japan 7.8%, Thailand 4.9% (2017)
China 34.1%, Singapore 12.8%, Thailand 12.4%, Vietnam 10.1% (2017)
Debt - external
$96.58 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$84.34 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$11.87 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$10.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Exchange rates
dong (VND) per US dollar -
22,425 (2017 est.)
22,159 (2016 est.)
22,355 (2015 est.)
21,909 (2014 est.)
21,189 (2013 est.)
riels (KHR) per US dollar -
4,055 (2017 est.)
4,058.7 (2016 est.)
4,058.7 (2015 est.)
4,067.8 (2014 est.)
4,037.5 (2013 est.)
Fiscal year
calendar year
calendar year
Public debt
58.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
59.9% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: official data; data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury; the data include treasury debt held by foreign entities; the data include debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; intragovernmental debt consists of treasury borrowings from surpluses in the social funds, such as for retirement, medical care, and unemployment; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions

30.4% of GDP (2017 est.)
29.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
$49.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$36.91 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$12.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$9.122 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Current Account Balance
$12.478 billion (2019 est.)
$5.769 billion (2018 est.)
-$1.871 billion (2017 est.)
-$1.731 billion (2016 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
$220.4 billion (2017 est.)
$22.09 billion (2017 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home
$129.5 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$293.2 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$29.17 billion (2014 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares
$156.7 billion (29 December 2017 est.)
$87.95 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$52.39 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

NA

Central bank discount rate
4.25% (7 October 2017)
15% (31 December 2011)
NA% (31 December 2012)
5.25% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate
7.07% (31 December 2017 est.)
6.96% (31 December 2016 est.)
10.92% (31 December 2017 est.)
11.36% (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of domestic credit
$313 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$277.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$16.53 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$14.27 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of narrow money
$85.96 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$73.48 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.202 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.748 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Stock of broad money
$85.96 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$73.48 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$2.202 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
$1.748 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
Taxes and other revenues
24.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
17.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)
-6.7% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
-1.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24
total: 6.9%
male: 6%
female: 7.9% (2018 est.)
total: 1.1%
male: 1%
female: 1.2% (2016 est.)
GDP - composition, by end use
household consumption: 66.9% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 6.5% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 24.2% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 2.8% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 100% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -101% (2017 est.)
household consumption: 76% (2017 est.)
government consumption: 5.4% (2017 est.)
investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)
investment in inventories: 1.2% (2017 est.)
exports of goods and services: 68.6% (2017 est.)
imports of goods and services: -73% (2017 est.)
Gross national saving
29% of GDP (2017 est.)
29.5% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.5% of GDP (2015 est.)
13.7% of GDP (2017 est.)
14.3% of GDP (2016 est.)
13.4% of GDP (2015 est.)

Source: CIA Factbook