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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Laos Sees Highest Trade Deficit of 2023 in July at USD 166 Million

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Laos’ imports and exports totaled over USD 1 billion in July; exports were valued at USD 429 million, while imports were approximately USD 595 million, resulting in a trade deficit of USD 166 million, the highest reported this year.

Potassium salt was the most exported product with a value of USD 55 million, while diesel was the most imported product with a value of USD 65 million, according to the Lao Trade Portal (LTP).

Other top-exported products last month included paper and paper products, gold ore, iron ore, mixed gold, pulp and scrap paper, sugar, clothing, beverages, and shoes, while the most imported products were auto parts, land vehicles, mechanical equipment, plastic products, steel and steel products, pulp and scrap paper, electronic appliances, equipment, gasoline, and fertilizer.

Thailand remained Laos’ biggest source for imports at USD 254 million, followed by China at USD 192 million, Vietnam at USD 29 million, the US at USD 27 million, and South Korea at USD 12 million.

Laos’ top five export partners were China at USD 196 million, followed by Vietnam at USD 90 million, Thailand at USD 48 million, Hong Kong at USD 13 million, and the US at USD 11 million.

In June trade figures, Japan and Australia were both in the top five import and export countries, respectively. Nevertheless, in July trade exports and imports, South Korea replaced Japan as one of the top five import countries, and Hong Kong replaced Australia as one of the top five export partners.

The trade deficit in Laos increased by USD 40 million in July, from USD 126 million in June to USD 166 million, making it the highest trade deficit the country has experienced this year.

However, according to the LTP, the value of imports and exports for July has not yet been finalized, as the statistics for the trade of electricity are still being collected. Once the statistics are complete, the LTP will release the updated figures.

The increasing trade deficit is a cause for concern for the Lao government, as it could lead to a decline in the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Currently, Laos’ national currency, the Laotian Kip is reported as one of the most undervalued in the world due to the country’s struggling economy and its heavy dependence on imports.

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