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Low Income Earners Concerned About Food Expenses

Source: Vientiane Times

People with low incomes across the country are concerned about their growing expenses on food following a steep rise in the prices of agricultural and food products.

The prices of the top five food products, rice, beef, pork, eggs and fish at markets in Vientiane have witnessed a significant increase in the past few months, according to the local media.

The runaway inflation in Laos has also led to the near doubling of prices of food and other essentials over the past year.

The price of polished rice has increased to 180,000 kip to 190,000 kip per 12 kg, while the price of beef has gone up to 95,000 kip per kg and pork to 65,000 kip to 70,000 kip per kg.

A box of eggs now costs 58,000 kip to 60,000 kip while farmed fish costs 34,000 kip to 35,000 kip per kg, according to local reporters who visited markets in the three districts of Vientiane, Hadxaifong, Xaysettha and Sisattanak.

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During the same period last year, the price of polished rice was 100,000 kip to 110,000 kip per 12 kg, while beef sold for 75,000 kip per kg, pork for 38,000 kip to 40,000 kip per kg, eggs for 28,000 kip to 30,000 kip a box and farmed fish for 25,000 kip per kg, vendors told Vientiane Times.

The rise in prices has had the greatest impact on people with low incomes and local residents are finding it hard to purchase these items for their consumption.

The rising prices have impacted not just Laos and countries around the world are struggling with the same issue.
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The inflation rate in Laos hit 23.6 percent year-on-year in June, the highest figure recorded since May 2000, as surging prices of energy and consumer goods continued to deepen hardship and create new pains for the Lao public.

In June, the price of fuel, gas and gold surged by 107.1 percent, 69.4 percent and 68.7 percent year-on-year respectively.

The soaring prices of fuel, gas and other imported goods, compounded with the depreciation of the kip, are among the main factors driving inflation, according to the latest report from the Lao Statistics Bureau.

Laos has one of the highest inflation rates in Southeast Asia, with many low-income earners struggling to afford basic necessities.

In addition, the cost of food, seasonings, non-alcoholic beverages, clothes, footwear, medicine, construction equipment, vehicles, spare parts and other imported goods rose significantly.

The kip continues to depreciate despite the government’s measures to stabilise currency exchange rates.

The exchange rate of commercial banks, especially the Lao-Viet Bank and the Bank of Laos, is currently 15,617 kip a dollar for buying and 15,654 kip a dollar for selling, and 462.19 kip a baht for buying and 465.65 kip a baht for selling. The exchange rate at exchange shops is higher, at 17,900 kip for a dollar and 500 kip for a baht.

Consumer prices will increase further if the exchange rate for the Lao kip continues to be weak, while foreign currencies, particularly the dollar and baht, remain stronger.