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Lao central bank targets to reduce inflation rate to 9 pct in 2023

VIENTIANE, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Laos' central bank, the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL), will attempt to reduce the inflation rate to 9 percent in 2023, said the BOL governor.

The announcement came in the wake of spiraling inflation throughout 2022, with the rate jumping from one to two digits in May and most recently recorded at 38.46 percent.

Skyrocketing inflation is causing great hardship to Lao people's life as prices across all categories hit record highs.

The central bank will immediately revise and improve measures to bring inflation under control and reduce the rate to 9 percent in 2023, the Lao National Radio on Friday quoted BOL Governor Bounleua Sinxayvoravong as saying.

At the same time, the bank will address other unresolved financial and monetary issues.

The Lao government is prioritizing the stability of the kip (Lao currency) and the regulation of exchange rates, as well as the management of M2 money supply and building up foreign currency reserves, while also encouraging commercial banks to attract more depositors, Bounleua told members of the National Assembly (NA) at the ongoing fourth ordinary session.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises will be given priority in accessing funding so they can boost their contribution to the gross domestic product.

Aiming to maintain financial stability, commercial banks will be required to keep non-performing loans at 3 percent in 2023.

Inflation in Laos increased to 38.46 percent year-on-year in November from 36.75 percent in October, official data showed.

The higher prices of fuel and consumer goods and the continuing depreciation of the Lao currency kip are among main factors driving the rising of inflation.

Rising oil prices are impacting the transport price index, causing an increase in the price of goods that depend on fuel for production or transport.