That dollar amount results from a 61.9% increase from $12.7 billion five years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Cambodian exports accelerated via a 17.1% upturn compared to $17.6 billion worth of international sales for 2021.
Based on the average exchange rate for 2022, the Cambodian riel depreciated by -1.3% against the US dollar since 2018 and weakened by -0.1% from 2021 to 2022. The weaker Cambodian currency in 2022 made Cambodia’s exports paid for in stronger US dollars relatively lesser expensive for international buyers.
Cambodia’s Major Trading Partners
The latest available country-specific data shows that 85.9% of products exported from Cambodia were bought by importers in: United States of America (43.6% of the Cambodian total), mainland China (6%), Japan (5.7%), Canada (5.4%), Germany (5.3%), United Kingdom (4.3%), Vietnam (3.3%), Belgium (3.1%), Netherlands (2.7%), Spain (2.3%), France (2.1%) and Thailand (2%).
From a continental perspective, about half (49.8%) of Cambodia’s exports by value was delivered to North American countries while 24.2% was sold to importers in Europe. Cambodia shipped another 22.8% worth of goods to Asia.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (1.9%) mostly Australia and New Zealand, Latin America (0.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Africa (0.4%).
Given Cambodia’s population of 16 million people, its total $20.6 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $1,300 for every resident in the southeastern Asian country. That dollar metric exceeds the average $1,100 per capita one year earlier during 2021.
Cambodia’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Cambodian global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Cambodia.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$6.4 billion (30.9% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.7 billion (13%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2 billion (9.7%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $1.9 billion (9%)
- Footwear: $1.7 billion (8.4%)
- Vehicles: $1 billion (5%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $948.3 million (4.6%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $530.9 million (2.6%)
- Cereals: $416.5 million (2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $395.5 million (1.9%)
Cambodia’s top 10 exports accounted for 87.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Electrical machinery and equipment was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 84.8% from 2021 to 2022.
In second place for improving export sales was vehicles via a 49.3% advance.
Cambodia’s shipments of rubber (both as a material plus items made from rubber) posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 25.8%.
The leading decliner among Cambodia’s top 10 export categories was plastics as a material plus items made from plastic, incurring a -3.7% year-over-year drop.
The above information is presented at the two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level.
Drilling down from the more granular four-digit HTS code perspective, cases, handbags and wallets represent Cambodia’s most valuable exported good generating 8.6% of total Cambodian export sales.
In second place were knitted or crocheted jerseys and pullovers (7.6%) trailed by knitted or crocheted women’s clothing (6%), solar power diodes or semi-conductors (5%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (4.6%), bicycles and other non-motorized cycles (4.4%), knitted or crocheted t-shirts and vests (4.1%), unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits or trousers (3.3%), knitted or crocheted men’s suits or trousers (3.1%), then textile footwear (also 3.1%).
Products Creating Cambodia’s Best Trade Surpluses
The following types of Cambodian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: US$6.3 billion (Up by 9.1% since 2021)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.6 billion (Up by 22.5%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $1.8 billion (Up by 17.9%)
- Footwear: $1.5 billion (Up by 26.1%)
- Furniture, bedding, lighting, signs, prefabricated buildings: $775.4 million (Up by 5.4%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $533.8 million (Reversing a -$109.6 million deficit)
- Cereals: $358.7 million (Up by 8.2%)
- Fruits, nuts: $201.7 million (Up by 15.8%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $157.4 million (Up by 2.2%)
- Vegetable/fruit/nut preparations: $65.3 million (Up by 47.8%)
Cambodia has highly positive net exports in the international trade of apparel. In turn, these cashflows indicate Cambodia’s strong competitive advantages under the clothing and accessories product categories.
Products Causing Cambodia’s Largest Trade Deficits
Cambodia incurred an overall -$9.4 billion trade deficit in 2022. That amount of red ink represents a -15.9% reduction from Cambodia’s -$11.1 billion deficit one year earlier for 2021.
Below are exports from Cambodia that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Cambodia’s goods trail Cambodian importer spending on foreign products.
- Gems, precious metals: -US$4.4 billion (Down by -24.6% since 2021)
- Mineral fuels including oil: -$3.7 billion (Up by 52.6%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: -$2.8 billion (Down by -2%)
- Vehicles: -$1.34 billion (Up by 5.3%)
- Machinery including computers: -$1.26 billion (Up by 7.4%)
- Manmade staple fibers: -$1.2 billion (Up by 7.7%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$821.4 million (Up by 9%)
- Aluminum: -$708.3 million (Up by 51.7%)
- Other chemical goods: -$590.9 million (Up by 41.3%)
- Paper, paper items: -$581.4 million (Down by -4.3%)
Cambodia has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for gold and, to a lesser extent, diamonds, silver and jewelry, under the gems and precious metals product category.
Cambodian Export Companies
Not one Cambodian corporation ranks among companies showcased on the Forbes Global 2000.
Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Cambodia. Selected examples are shown below.
- Cambrew Brewery (alcoholic beverages)
- Comin Khmere (construction & materials)
- Kampot Cement (construction resources)
- Kingdom Breweries (alcoholic beverages)
- Sokimex (oil, gas)
- The Royal Group (conglomerate)
In macroeconomic terms, Cambodia’s total exported goods represent 23% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2022 ($89.6 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 23% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2022 compares to 22.3% for 2021. Those percentages suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Cambodia’s total economic performance, albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Cambodia’s unemployment rate averaged 0.36% in 2022, up from an average 0.3% for 2021 according to statistics from Trading Economics.
Cambodia’s capital city is Phnom Penh, nicknamed the “Pearl of Asia” and “The Charming City”.
See also China’s Top 10 Imports, Japan’s Top Trading Partners, Canada’s Top Trading Partners, Vietnam’s Top 10 Exports and Thailand’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 31, 2023
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 31, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Wikipedia, Cambodia. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Cambodia. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on May 31, 2023