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Laos’ GDP expected to grow 3%

Laos’ gross domestic product – GDP – is expected to reach LAK180 trillion this year, a rise of 3% (target approved by National Assembly: 4%) with per capita income expected to rise to US$2,649 higher than US$2,536 approved by the assembly, Deputy Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone told the 2nd Ordinary Session of the National Assembly today.

Delivering a report about the implementation of the national Socio-eeconomic Development plan in the first nine months yesterday, Mr Sonexay Siphandone, who is also Minister of Planning and Investment, noted that economic growth over months to come will be driven mainly by contraction sector, information and communication sector, and electricity sector with major hydropower projects including Nam Theun II, Nam San 3A and Nam San 3B, Nam Tha 1 and Nam Lik 1 have exceeded production targets.

Mining and retail and wholesale sectors are likely to continue to be among major economic drivers.

However, economic growth will be offset by the accommodation and restaurant industry which has contracted 28.6% due to Covid-19, and transport and warehouse sector, contracting 0.7%. Yet public transport sector is expected to grow in the 4th quarter due to the launch of the Laos-China railway.

Average inflation rate in the first nine months of the current fiscal year stood at 3.32% due to rising prices of crude oil, raw materials and production costs, economic situation of main trade partners, low supply, and depreciation of Kip – by 6.55% against the US dollar.

The Deputy Prime Minister reported that the foreign currency reserve of the country can sustain 3.67 months of imports (NA: not less than 3 months) with deposit balance of commercial banks rising by 19.95% compared to the same period last year, and credit balance of the banking sector increasing by 4.9%, and non-performing loans (NPLs) standing at 2.8% (NA: under 3%).

“Despite facing a number of difficulties, the government has managed to issue enabling and reasonable policies to promote revenue collection and ensure expenditure management,” said the vice premier.

Revenue collection reached over 16 trillion kip, representing 59% of the annual plan, including 14.4 trillion kip of domestic revenues, equal to 57% of set target.

This year revenue collection is expected to reach 26.9 trillion kip, equivalent to 98% of the target approved for 2021.

Expenditure in the first three quarters reached 16.9 trillion kip, accounting for 54 % of set target, with central expenditure reaching over 11 trillion kip, equivalent to 49% of the plan, and provincial expenditure estimated at 5.8 trillion kip, equal to 64% of set goal.

The first nine months witnessed the imports and exports of over US$10 billion, including estimated imports and exports of electricity, a rise of 23.8% as compared to the same period last year.

Exports reached US$5.61 billion, 85% of set target, up by 26.8% as imports stood at US$4.45 billion, accounting for 69.7% of approved number, resulting in a trade surplus of US$1.16 billion.

The vice premier also said that this year imports and exports are expected to meet the targets approved by the National Assembly as the government has made greater efforts in devising favourable policies to facilitate and ensure normal function of imports and exports and service sectors.

Source: Lao News Agency