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Laos’ GDP grows by 4.3pc in six months

VIENTIANE (XINHUA) – The gross domestic product (GDP) of Laos grew 4.3 per cent year-on-year in the first six months of this year, Lao News Agency yesterday quoted a government minister as saying.

Economic output in the first half of this year reached LAK95.2 trillion (about USD6 billion), equivalent to 49.6 of a pre-set annual target.

Addressing the Third Ordinary Session of the National Assembly (ninth legislature) on Monday, Lao Minister of Planning and Investment Khamjane Vongphosy told members of the National Assembly about the implementation of the macroeconomic development plan in the first six months of 2022.

The country’s main economic drivers included the agriculture-forestry sector and services, according to the minister.

At the same time, revenue collection in the first half of the year reached LAK10.6 trillion, increasing by 23.7 per cent year-on-year. Meanwhile, government spending was valued at LAK8.8 trillion, representing 27.2 per cent of the plan.

The total amount of money circulating in the economic system grew by 18.39 per cent year-on-year as the kip depreciated 7.78 per cent against the US dollar and 8.43 per cent against the Thai baht.

The country’s foreign currency reserve has increased. As of the end of May, the foreign exchange reserve is enough to pay for 4.17 months of imports.

The credit balance of the commercial banking sector accounted for 54.85 per cent of the country’s GDP as the non-performing loan ratio of commercial banks stood at 2.22 per cent, according to the minister.

Last Friday, Khamjane told a Parliament meeting that the Lao government will aim for GDP growth of at least 4.4 per cent for the second half of 2022 in line with the target of LAK192,145 billion, or about USD12 billion.

A view of a night market along the Mekong River, in Vientiane, capital of Laos. PHOTO: XINHUA