Rice fields in Laos

Laos External Debt (USD bn)

Economic momentum was likely weak in 2022 as several factors exerted downward pressure on activity. Floods and significantly weaker annual export growth in Q1–Q3 were a drag on output. Moreover, surging commodity prices and a sharp FX depreciation led to a cost-of-living crisis—inflation ended last year at 39.3%. Additionally, the pressure on growth was likely intensified by the Central Bank’s policy tightening in Q4. However, the economy will have been supported by the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, increased electricity exports, reviving tourism and an increase in both freight and passenger transportation through the Laos-China railway. Turning to Q1 of this year, early signs are downbeat as inflation continued to accelerate, reaching 40.3% in January and boding poorly for business activity. In politics, the recent cabinet reshuffle is unlikely to bring major policy changes.

Laos External Debt (USD bn) Data

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
External Debt (USD bn) 14.7 15.5 16.6 17.4 17.2

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