Laos saw a record $932 million in the value of imports and exports last month, but recorded a trade deficit of $62 million, as the value of imports at $497 million was higher than the value of exports at $435 million.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce updated its Lao Trade Portal website, giving a detailed monthly report of the value of trade between Laos and its main trading partners.
Last month, Laos exported mainly copper ore, bananas, mixed gold (gold bars), cassava, clothes, raw coffee, sugar, rubber, fruit (watermelons, passion fruit and tamarind) and sawn wood.
Meanwhile, the main imported products were vehicles (other than motorcycles and tractors), electrical devices and equipment, diesel, mechanical equipment (other than motor vehicles), steel, steel products, premium and regular grade fuel, auto parts (including tyres, glass and chains), plastic products, fertiliser, and food factory waste.
The total value of exports last month was recorded at $435 million – a slight increase compared to the May figure of $425 million.
The figure comprised copper ore valued at $27 million ($26 million in May), $15 million worth of bananas, $75 million of mixed gold (gold bars), $3 million of cassava (down from $6 million last month), $16 million worth of clothing (up from $11 million in May), $10 million of raw coffee, $5 million of sugar ($3 million last month), $15 million of rubber, $5 million of fruit (watermelons, passion fruit and tamarind) and $3 million of sawn wood. The total value of imports was recorded at $497 million.
This included $51 million ($45 million last month) worth of vehicles (other than motorcycles and tractors), $40 million of diesel, $33 million of mechanical equipment (other than motor vehicles), $17 million of steel, steel products, magnetic steel, $30 million worth of beverages (water, soda and energy drinks), $30 million of auto parts (including tyres, glass and chains), $16 million of plastic products, $11 million of fertiliser, and $11 million worth of food factory waste.
Most of Laos’ exports go to China with $158 million worth of goods sold last month, down from $168 million in May. Goods sold to Vietnam were valued at $90 million (down from $106 million in May), goods sold to Thailand were valued at $72 million (up from $60 million in May), while exports to Japan hit a record $8 million and goods sold to the US totalled $7 million.
China is still in the lead as Laos’ largest export market, while Thailand remains one of Laos’ main importing countries, with imports totalling $225 million last month (down from $227 million in May). In addition, imported goods from China were worth $126 million in June (up from $117 million in May), while imports from Vietnam totalled $34 million (down from $39 million), imports from Japan $14 million (down from $16 million in May) and imports from the United States totalled $24 million (down from $31 million in May).
Laos is heavily dependent on imported products but it is hoped that increased domestic production will become a strength of the country, such as organically farmed agricultural produce.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK