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Price Of Imported Goods Soars To Record High

Source: Vientiane Times

The cost of imported household goods surged by 15-50 percent in April compared to the figure recorded in January, according to a recent study.

Conducted by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the research paper attributed the price rise to the continuing depreciation of the kip and higher transport costs, triggered by skyrocketing fuel prices.

The rise in the price of imported household items has contributed significantly to year-on-year inflation in Laos, which rose from 6.25 percent in January to 7.31 percent in February and 8.54 percent in March. 

For instance, the price of a small bottle of fish sauce rose from 10,000 kip in January to 12,000 kip in April, while the price of cooking oil increased from 20,000 kip to 28,000 kip and the cost of a pack of instant noodles jumped from 36,000 to 55,000 kip over the same time period.

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Typically, the import price index jumped by 14 percent year-on-year in March, up from 11.7 percent reported in February.

According to the paper, the cost of almost everything purchased in Laos has risen in recent months due to both internal and external factors.

Producers and farmers, including pig and chicken farmers, are struggling to boost output for export due to soaring production costs, which have been driven by the higher price of animal feed and fertiliser purchased from Thailand.

The cost of feed for piglets rose by 29 percent in April compared to the figure for January. The cost of feed for chicks rose by 8 percent, the cost of fish feed surged by 60 percent, and the price of fertiliser went up by 17 percent during this four-month period.

Many Vientiane residents are struggling to cope with the rising cost of living and the bleak economic outlook.
The price of pork and eggs on sale in markets jumped to 55,000 kip/kg and 40,000 kip per box of 30 eggs respectively.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce’s study found that the cost of goods on the government’s list of price-controlled items rose by 1.1 percent month-on-month and 7 percent year-on-year in March.

The price of pork, chicken and fish rose by 4 percent, 11 percent and 16 percent respectively compared to the figures for January.

The research paper recommended that the concerned sectors need to boost exports to bring more foreign currency into the country.

Other steps suggested to be taken by the government include raising the interest rate to attract foreign currencies into the banking system, strictly regulating exchange rates, encouraging transactions related to exported goods to be carried out through the banking system, and ensuring that trade in goods and services in Laos is done using the kip.