Laos Economic Outlook
January 28, 2020Growth was likely healthy in 2019, aided by the ongoing construction of the Laos-China railway. Moreover, tourist arrivals were reportedly up 9% year-on-year, which should have supported the services sector. In addition, the external sector strengthened in Q1–Q3, with the current account deficit narrowing sharply on substantially higher goods and services exports. Turning to this year, strong electricity generation should be sustaining momentum thanks to the recent start of operations at the Xayaburi and Don Sahong dams. Meanwhile, in January, Moody’s assigned Laos a B3 credit rating—the first from a major rating agency—citing strong growth prospects balanced against weak institutions and environmental risks. The move signals the country’s growing economic maturity and could support financial inflows, although the rating is notably below investment grade.
Laos Economic GrowthEconomic growth should remain robust this year, buoyed by infrastructure development and higher electricity exports thanks to new hydropower projects. However, measures to tame the fiscal deficit could restrain activity somewhat. Weak international reserves and significant dependence on China pose downside risks to the outlook. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists project GDP to expand 6.4% in 2020, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 6.4% again in 2021.
Laos Economy Data
|GDP per capita (USD)||2,075||2,135||2,309||2,424||2,542|
|GDP (USD bn)||13.3||14.4||15.8||16.9||18.0|
|Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)||7.6||7.3||7.0||6.9||6.2|
|Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)||-3.9||-5.6||-5.1||-5.5||-4.4|
|Public Debt (% of GDP)||56.5||53.1||54.2||55.8||57.2|
|Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)||4.2||1.3||1.6||0.8||2.0|
|Policy Interest Rate (%)||6.25||5.63||5.31||5.00||5.00|
|Exchange Rate (vs USD)||8,035||8,122||8,161||8,196||8,313|
|Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)||8,048||8,135||8,133||8,254||8,415|
|Current Account (% of GDP)||-14.5||-15.8||-8.8||-7.5||-8.0|
|Current Account Balance (USD bn)||-1.9||-2.3||-1.4||-1.3||-1.4|
|Trade Balance (USD billion)||-1.7||-2.0||-1.1||-0.8||-0.9|
|Exports (USD billion)||3.3||3.7||4.2||4.9||5.3|
|Imports (USD billion)||5.0||5.7||5.4||5.7||6.2|
|Exports (annual variation in %)||44.7||11.5||16.2||14.8||8.7|
|Imports (annual variation in %)||63.1||14.0||-5.3||5.5||8.8|
|International Reserves (USD)||0.9||1.0||0.8||1.2||0.9|
|External Debt (% of GDP)||72.7||80.9||85.6||86.9||86.8|
5 years of Laos economic forecasts for more than 30 economic indicators.
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|Exchange Rate||8,885||0.31 %||Jan 01|
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