The prices of goods and services in Laos continue to rise at a rate unseen since August 2020, increasing by 5.27 per cent in December when compared to the figures for the same month in 2020.

The year-on-year inflation rate has soared above four per cent since September 2021, driven by several factors, including the price of food and costs in the communications and transport category and medical care.

For instance, the price of fuel increased by 38.7 per cent year-on-year last month, while the cost of pork surged significantly. In addition, the depreciation of the Lao kip against the Thai baht and the US dollar drove up prices in local markets, especially for imported goods.

The Lao Statistics Bureau said the consumer price index rose 0.23 per cent in December when compared with the figures for November, and year-on-year inflation surged from 5.04 per cent to 5.27 per cent in December, the highest point recorded in 15 months.

The uncertainty in the global economy could further impact on the Lao economy, notably in the tourism and investment sectors.

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to interrupt global supply chains, leading to shortages and driving up prices of goods due to a mismatch between demand and supply. In December, costs in the communications and transport category went up by 1.6 per cent month-on-month, and 12.7 per cent year-on-year.

The prices of cars and transport equipment surged by 12.4 per cent and 20.6 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

The cost of medical care climbed by 0.5 per cent month-on-month and 8.2 per cent year-on-year due to the rising cost of medicines and hospital services.

The price of medicines rose by 7.8 per cent year-on-year, while the cost of hospital and clinic services surged by 13.5 per cent year-on-year.

Prices in the restaurant and hotel category went up by 0.7 per cent month-on-month and 8.3 per cent year-on-year.

For instance, the cost of food charged by restaurants and hotels increased by 10.4 per cent year-on-year, while the prices of guesthouse and hotel services declined by 0.8 per cent year-on-year.

In addition, prices in the housing, water, electricity and gas category rose by 0.7 per cent month-on-month and 5.8 per cent year-on-year.

The cost of construction services went up by 9.5 per cent year-on-year, while the price of gas and other energy sources increased by 6.4 per cent year-on-year. The cost of clothing and footwear rose by 1.8 per cent month-on-month and 5.4 per cent year-on-year. For example, the price of men’s clothes surged by 6.4 per cent, while that of women’s clothes went up by 4.2 per cent year-on-year.

At the same time, the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 2.7 per cent year-on-year, with the cost of cooking oil and seasoning surging by 29.6 per cent and 19.7 per cent year-on-year, respectively.