Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cambodia's inflation hits record 22 percent

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia's inflation hit a record high of 22 percent in July, a government minister said Tuesday.

Planning Minister Chhay Than said high global prices of oil and food were to blame for the soaring rate.

"For July, the inflation rate was 22 percent. We can say that this is a record high," Chhay Than told AFP.

"The inflation is caused by outside factors... the prices of oil, fuel and foods... the slowdown in the US economy," he said.

"But if we compare with some neighbouring countries, it is not so high," Chhay Than added.

The last published consumer price index (CPI) for January showed that inflation had reached 18.7 percent.

The government then stopped releasing monthly CPI reports in a move widely seen as an effort to hide spiralling consumer costs ahead of July elections, in which Prime Minister Hun Sen's ruling party stormed to victory.

Officials denied that claim, saying there had been a disagreement over how to calculate the figure.

The government has now said it will resume publication of inflation figures later this week.

Cambodia in May doubled reserve requirements for private banks from 8.0 percent to 16.0 percent in a bid to curb money supply and stem rising inflation. The requirements took effect from July. 

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