Source: The Star
Laos is suffering from one of the highest inflation rates in the region, raising concerns as the population suffers from financial hardship,reports Laotian Times.
Year-on-year inflation in Laos rose from 5.04 percent in November to 5.27 per cent in December last year, the highest figure recorded since August 2020, according to Vientiane Times.
Laos also saw the highest inflation rate among Asean countries except for Myanmar, which recorded inflation at 6.51 per cent.
Indonesia saw inflation at 1.87 per cent, Cambodia saw 3.8 per cent, Malaysia saw 3.2 per cent, Singapore 4 per cent, Philippines estimated at 3.9 per cent, Vietnam 1.81 per cent, Thailand 2.18 per cent, and Brunei 1.80 per cent.
Many countries around the world have been affected by inflation since the Covid-19 pandemic began, with the US seeing 7 per cent inflation, Russia seeing inflation at 8.4 percent, and many European countries seeing inflation rates above 5 per cent.
The International Monetary Fund has said that rising energy prices and supply disruptions have resulted in higher and more broad-based inflation than anticipated, particularly in the US and many emerging markets and developing economies.
At the same time, according to Fitch Ratings, smaller frontier markets will be vulnerable to the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes, citing Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Laos as particular examples.
Meanwhile, fuel prices have continually risen in Laos, along with a rapidly rising cost of living.
According to the Lao Statistics Bureau, transportation costs have increased 12.7 per cent, while hotel and restaurant rates increased by 8.3 per cent, with healthcare and drug costs up 8.2 per cent, and other goods and services increasing by 7.9 per cent.
Alcohol and tobacco went up by 6.8 per cent, while utilities such as water supply, electricity, and cooking gas all jumped by 5.8 per cent. Clothing and footwear went up by 5.4 per cent, and furniture prices increased by 4.9 per cent.
Lawmakers in Laos began discussions last week surrounding a raise of the national minimum wage amid inflation and an increasing cost of living.