NNA Asia top stories Thursday, Nov. 29

30, Nov. 2018

TOKYO, NNA – The following are the top stories from NNA Asia for Thursday, Nov. 29.

World Bank revises up 2018 Cambodia GDP forecast to 7.1% from 6.9% in May

PHNOM PENH, NNA – Cambodia’s economy is expected to grow 7.1 percent this year, driven by domestic consumption and exports, the World Bank said in its outlook issued on Wednesday, revising up its forecast from 6.9 percent projected in May.

“The favorable longer-term outlook is boosted largely by rising FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows to manufacturing and agriculture, and improved supply chain linkages between FDI and Cambodian firms,” the World Bank said.

Domestic demand has been boosted by higher wage growth and larger public investments with fiscal expansion serving as stimulus, it said.

But fiscal expansion has resulted in widening of the overall fiscal deficit which is targeted to increase to 4.2 percent of GDP in 2018, up from 1.6 percent in 2017, the World Bank noted.

“Risks in the financial sector continue to build up, with large exposure to the construction and real estate sector,” it warned.

“Externally, risks are associated with the potential temporary withdrawal of Everything But Arms (EBA) preferences for Cambodia and potential spill-over effects of US-China trade disputes.”

The European Union has told Cambodia it is losing duty-free trading access to the EU market, the world’s largest trading bloc, over human rights violation.

Press: Myanmar parliament delays approval of French aid loan for Yangon development

YANGON, NNA – Myanmar’s legislature, the Assembly of the Union, has postponed the approval of a 70-million-euro ($79.6 million) loan from the French Development Agency for urban development in the Yangon Region as the government tries to keep a lid on foreign debt.

Speaker U T Khun Myat told parliament on Monday that the loan needs to be reviewed because some lawmakers from the Yangon Region, the commercial center of the emerging economy, opposed the projects, the Myanmar Times reported.

Parliament’s Joint Public Accounts Committee will meet the agencies that will use the loan and submit a report before Dec. 3, the newspaper said.

Some members of parliament want to further discuss the effectiveness of the loan for the projects aimed at reducing traffic congestion and alleviating flooding, it said.

Earlier this year, Myanmar scaled back plans for a Chinese-backed port on its western coast, sharply reducing the cost of the project as it was feared to push up the Southeast Asian country’s foreign debt.

China gov’t report: Semiconductor industry growing but lags behind global standards

BEIJING, NNA – China’s semiconductor industry has been growing steadily but it lags behind international standards in some areas, the government said in a report released on Tuesday.

The index to show the development of China’s integrated circuit industry (100 in 2014) rose to 127.7 in 2017, up from 118.8 in 2016 and 107.7 in 2015, thanks to sharp increases in sales and exports, the report said.

At the same time, the government warned that Chinese manufacturers of electronic parts and devices are still behind international levels in some areas, saying they do not meet diversified demand, their technology for core parts are insufficient and their supply chain networks are fragile.