Laos has registered a trade surplus of $178 million in the first nine months of this year, although money transfers are below target.
The value of Laos’ combined exports and imports in the third quarter of this year reached $8.582 billion, or 76 per cent of the figure approved by the National Assembly.
There was an increase of 41 per cent compared to the same period last year, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Sonexay Siphandone informed the National Assembly last week.
The value of exports hit $4.380 billion or 79.4 per cent of the plan and is expected to rise to $5.516 billion. Imports were valued at $4.202 billion but are likely to reach $5.775 billion, Dr Sonexay said.
Despite the trade surplus, the transfer of money for exports was not on target after the government signed contracts with investors, he added.
However, some goods that were imported and then shipped back don’t require payment.
The industrial processing and handicraft sectors achieved 8.968 trillion kip ($1.01 billion) or 73.5 per cent of the target figure. Compared to the same period last year this was an increase of 19.8 per cent and is likely to reach 12.306 trillion kip or 99 per cent of the 12.386 trillion kip figure set by the National Assembly, Dr Sonexay said.
Income from industrial processing and handicrafts decreased as some cement factories had to stop operations due to higher investments and some plants were affected by floods. This is likely to show up as decreased production.
Electricity generation, a primary export, was affected by the prolonged dry season. About 23.641 billion kWh was generated worth more than 11.600 trillion kip or 70 per cent of the 33.875 trillion kip approved by the National Assembly. This was down by 5.17 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The government expects that electricity exports will shoot up this year with some new plants starting commercial operations.
The export value of minerals was 8.080 trillion kip or 68 per cent of the target figure and is expected to drop further.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK