Laos has beaten its own record again with inflation reaching 36.75 percent in October according to the latest report from the Lao Statistics Bureau (LSB).
October set a new record marking the highest inflation rate this year, up from 34.05 percent in September, continuing an upward trend that has caused difficulties for residents amid a rising cost of living.
According to the statistics bureau, food and alcoholic beverages have increased by 38.8 percent year-on-year, with the sector affected by the price of rice and other daily food items including pork, poultry, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetable oil, fruit and vegetables.
Commercial transport and deliveries shot up by 58.1 percent, driven mainly by high fuel costs in October. Clothing, footwear, household items, medical equipment, and medicines also saw increases.
The retail price of construction materials in Vientiane Capital also increased, forcing some to abandon construction projects.
“A tonne of cement used to cost around LAK 600,000. Some vendors are selling the same amount at over LAK 1 million,” a local construction foreman told Laotian Times.
Authorities in Laos are working to fight the rising cost of living, with the Party Central Committee discussing solutions at its recent Plenary Session, which ended on 20 October.
During the meeting, officials agreed to look at increasing export revenues and ensuring that payments are made through the banking system, as well as calling for more action to support local production and reduce the country’s reliance on imports.
Party Secretary General, Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith, promised to enforce strict measures to manage the rising prices and keep currency exchange rates in check.
The continued rise in the cost of living is heavily affecting the general population, with low-income earners suffering the most.
Laos increased its minimum wage to LAK 1,200,000 (approximately USD 70) per month in August this year.