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Laos record 88 mln USD in trade deficit in August

VIENTIANE, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Laos recorded a trade deficit of 88 million U.S. dollars in August 2023, according to the latest figures from the Lao Trade Portal website.

The total value of trade in August was recorded at 980 million dollars, of which 446 million dollars were exports and 534 million dollars were imports, said a report issued last Friday from the Lao Trade Portal website.

Laos' main export products included salts, mixed gold and gold bars, paper products, copper ore, sugar, rubber, pulp and paper scrap, clothing, iron ore and banana.

The country's leading imports included fuel, mechanical equipment, land vehicles, steel and steel products, spare parts, pulp and paper scrap, electronic appliances, gasoline, plastic products, and beverage.

China remains the top export destination for Laos, followed by Vietnam and Thailand. Meanwhile, the main importing countries of Laos include Thailand, China and Vietnam, according to the report.

Laos' trade deficit decreased by 78 million dollars in August, down from 166 million dollars in July, the highest so far this year.

The total value of trade in July was recorded at over 1 billion dollars, of which 429 million dollars were exports and 595 million dollars were imports.

The consistent trade deficit is a cause for concern for the Lao government, as it is leading to a decline in foreign exchange reserves, affecting foreign currency exchange rates in the country.

Depreciation of the Lao currency kip is one of the main factors driving inflation, as one-third of the goods used to calculate price rises are imported.

At a meeting of government officials and private sector representatives on Sept. 15, the Lao Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry advised to minimize importing certain vegetables and other agricultural produce to help boost the cultivation of these crops in Laos while also tackling inflation.

Additionally, Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has called on all businesses to focus on increasing agricultural production, especially of processed goods, to boost exports.