Laos Records Seven Months of Trade Deficit in 2023, Totaling USD 675 Million

Laos reported its highest trade deficit in June since January 2023. (Photo: Jclao)

Laos has grappled with a trade deficit for seven of the first nine months of this year, totaling USD 675 million. Only in February and March did the country register a trade surplus.

In September, the trade deficit expanded to USD 218 million, marking the highest deficit recorded this year. This increase was primarily due to imports continuing to surpass exports. The overall value of imports and exports reached USD 1.006 billion, with exports valued at USD 394 million and imports at USD 612 million, as reported by the Lao Trade Portal.

Among exported goods, mixed gold and bullion took the lead with a total value of USD 53 million, while diesel emerged as the most imported product with a value of USD 69 million. Other notable exports included paper and paper products, gold ore, potassium salt, rubber, pulp and scrap paper, iron ore, sugar, clothing, and bananas. 

China secured the top spot among Laos’ top five export countries, accounting for USD 177 million, followed by Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and India.

Meanwhile, Laos has been importing products such as mechanical equipment, land vehicles, steel and steel products, electrical appliances and equipment, plastic, gasoline, and pulp and scrap paper.

Thailand remained in the top position as Laos’ largest import source, contributing USD 264 million, immediately followed by China, Vietnam, the United States (US), and Australia.