Prices Still High in Laos Despite Drop In Foreign Currency Values

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Lao kip in a wallet

Despite a drop in the value of key foreign currencies, food and imported goods prices still remain high.

Foreign currency values, particularly the US dollar and the Thai baht, peaked in June before gradually declining in early July.

In June, the Bank of the Lao PDR announced limitations on daily foreign exchange transactions with commercial banks.

Individuals must now indicate their reason for exchanging foreign currency, while commercial banks must also give priority to organizations wishing to purchase foreign currency to purchase certain prioritized goods.

But low-wage workers are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living in Laos has reached its highest point this year.

To cope with this issue, a new minimum wage adjustment began on 1 August at LAK 1,200,000. That rate will continue until 30 April 2023, and on 1 May 2023, a second minimum wage adjustment will see the rate increase to LAK 1,300,000.

The Domestic Trade Department told the media on Monday that the department would carry out inspections and collect information on prices from some major importers in collaboration with relevant government organizations at the central and local levels.

Traders reported that they have been unable to reduce the prices of food items, particularly imported goods, because they were purchased at a time when the value of foreign currencies was high.

The Vientiane Capital Department of Industry and Commerce has announced an update on food prices in major districts including Sisattanak, Saysettha, Sikhottabong and Chanthabouly districts.

The price of sticky rice is now LAK 13,334 per kilogram, with white rice at LAK 14,166.

Beef has increased the most and is now sold at LAK 85,000 per kilogram.