Source: Vientiane Times
Laos registered the first-ever trade surplus of 2023 in February, when exports were worth USD505 million and imports were worth USD457 million.
Total two-way trade for the month stood at USD962 million and the surplus was USD48 million, according to the latest figures unveiled on March 16 by the Lao Trade Portal under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
According to the latest data, cassava was the main export, followed by mixed gold and gold bars, copper ore, salt, wood pulp, and paper scraps.
The main imports included diesel, mechanical equipment, land vehicles, gasoline and iron and steel products.
Among exports, cassava sales generated US$85 million, while the export of mixed gold and gold bars generated US$46 million, and US$35 million came from the export of copper ore.
Exports of salt generated USD34 million, US$30 million was generated by the export of wood pulp and paper scraps, and the export of paper and paper products earned USD28 million. The export of sugar generated USD26 million, USD22 million came from the export of clothes, USD21 million from the export of bananas, and USD20 million from the export of iron ore.
Laos spent almost half a billion US dollars on the import of diesel, mechanical equipment, land vehicles, gasoline, electric cables, wood pulp, and vehicle spare parts.
Last month, Laos paid USD83 million to import diesel, USD31 million for mechanical equipment, USD27 million for land vehicles, USD19 million for gasoline, USD18 million for steel and steel products, USD18 for plastic products, USD17 million for electric lines and cables, USD15 million for vehicle spare parts, USD14 million for beverages and USD13 million for wood pulp and paper waste.
In February alone, the country’s exports to China were worth US$173 million, and the other key export destinations were Thailand (USD116 million), Vietnam (USD106 million), Australia (USD23 million), and Hongkong (USD13 million).
Laos also spent USD257 million on importing goods from Thailand, USD115 million on imports from China, USD22 million on imports from Vietnam, USD14 million on imports from the United States of America, and USD8 million on imports from Japan.
The overall trade figure of USD962 million for February does not include the value of electricity exports.
In January, total two-way trade was worth USD935 million, and there was a trade deficit of USD13 million.