Many Banks In Laos Refuse To Sell Foreign Currencies

Source: Vientiane Times

Many people want to buy foreign currencies especially dollars and baht for transactions including the import or purchase of foreign goods but currently customers are confused as to the current situation regarding foreign exchange.

Customers who need kip to buy dollars or baht at the Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL) can only exchange currencies once per week and at a maximum of 5 million kip per person. However, customers can exchange foreign currencies to buy Lao kip at any time and an unlimited amount, according to the bank.

BCEL is now allowing a maximum of 5 million kip per person to be exchanged for foreign currencies.

The new system aims to promote kip currency expenditure within the country and to prevent people who take opportunities in exchanging kip to buy foreign currencies from the bank each day, the Acting General Director of the bank, Mr Phoukhong Chanthachack told Vientiane Times yesterday.

Previously, the bank issued a policy for customers to exchange kip to foreign currencies to a total of 20 million kip per person per time after the bank improved the system recently.

The bank officer advised that the system is open to customers to apply to exchange currencies by SMS every Saturday between 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

Customers wanting to exchange kip for foreign currencies should print EX then a space followed by their ID Card No and send it to 1444.

An SMS will answer to back to customers later as to when and where they can exchange currencies and at which branch or location.

Customers will also have to pay 20,000 kip for the service.

But different private banks are currently not offering foreign currency for sale in exchange for Lao kip. Many people observed that the measures will impact on the price of goods on the domestic market and that the value of foreign currencies will get stronger because most products in Laos are imported.

The Bank of the Lao PDR is continuing to run campaigns to promote the use of the kip, to encourage more people to use the national currency.