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Laos Economy
Economy - overview:
The government of Laos - one of the few remaining official Communist states - began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 7% in 1988-2001 except during the short-lived drop caused by the Asian financial crisis beginning in 1997. Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with a primitive infrastructure; it has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications. Electricity is available in only a few urban areas. Subsistence agriculture accounts for half of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The economy will continue to benefit from aid from the IMF and other international sources and from new foreign investment in food processing and mining.
GDP:
purchasing power parity - $10.32 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
5.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $1,700 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 49.4%
industry: 24.5%
services: 26.1% (2003 est.)
Population below poverty line:
40% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 30.6% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37 (1997)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
15.3% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
2.6 million (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 80% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.7% (1997 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $298.5 million
expenditures: $429.9 million, including capital expenditures of NA (2003 est.)
Industries:
tin and gypsum mining, timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism
Industrial production growth rate:
9.7% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.317 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 1.4%
hydro: 98.6%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
824.7 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
400 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
2,750 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Agriculture - products:
sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice, water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Current account balance:
$-58 million (2003)
Exports:
$332 million (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
garments, wood products, coffee, electricity, tin
Exports - partners:
Thailand 20.7%, Vietnam 15.8%, France 7.3%, Germany 5.3%, Belgium 4% (2003 est.)
Imports:
$492 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
Imports - partners:
Thailand 59.7%, China 12.8%, Vietnam 10.2% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
$201 million (2003)
Debt - external:
$2.49 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
$243 million (2001 est.)
Currency:
kip (LAK)
Currency code:
LAK
Exchange rates:
kips per US dollar - 10,443 (2003), 10,056.3 (2002), 8,954.58 (2001), 7,887.64 (2000), 7,102.02 (1999)
Fiscal year:
1 October - 30 September
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