Cambodia’s public debt remains at low risk of debt distress

PHNOM PENH: The Ministry of and Finance has recently released the latest report of Cambodia's public debt by 2023 showing that the country's public debt situation continues to remain “sustainable and low risk of debt distress.”

As of year-end 2023, Cambodia's public debt stood at US$11.24 billion, in which 99.5 percent or US$11.19 billion is public external debt and 0.5 percent or US$52.39 million is public domestic debt, read the bulletin.

The composition of the public debt stock was US$46 percent, Special Drawing Rights (SDR) 19 percent, CNY 11 percent, JPY 11 percent, EUR 7 percent, and local and other currencies 6 percent, it stated.

“Cambodia's public debt situation continues to remain “sustainable” and “low risk” of debt distress. All the key debt indicators in 2023 are well below the thresholds, of which the Present Value of Public and Publicly Guaranteed External Debt to GDP, is at 24.2 percent compared to the 40 percent threshold,” the ministry said in the bulletin.

In 2023, the Royal Government of Cambodia signed new concessional loans with development partners with a total amount of US$1.81 billion, equivalent to SDR 1,339.22 million, accounting for 79 percent of the ceiling permitted by Law (SDR 1,700 million), the source pointed out.

The purpose of these signed loans is to finance public projects in the priority sectors that support long-term sustainable economic growth and increase economic productivity, it added.

“Overall, all the loans are highly concessional with an average grant element of around 45 percent,” the bulletin underlined.

The country's public finance management reforms reflect that Cambodia's public financial system is on the path to international standards and excellence, Samdech Moha Borvor Thipadei Hun Manet, Prime Minister of Cambodia said.

“Public financial management has strengthened the ownership and role of the Cambodian government in taking responsibility for the fate of the nation and reduced foreign borrowing,” the Prime Minister said at the closing ceremony of the 2023 Annual Review Meeting on Public Financial Management Reform Programme-Stage 4 held on Feb. 14.

The country did not lose its sovereignty due to foreign borrowing to develop the country, and foreign borrowing is only to invest in infrastructure to serve the national economy responsibly, affirmed the Premier.

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