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Laos:
Economy

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Economy - overview
Definition
The government of Laos, one of the few remaining one-party Communist states, began decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise in 1986. The results, starting from an extremely low base, were striking - growth averaged 6% per year in 1988-2007 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 underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications, though the government is sponsoring major improvements in the road system with support from Japan and China. Electricity is available in urban areas and in most rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about 40% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment. The economy will continue to benefit from aid from international donors and from foreign investment in hydropower and mining. Construction will be another strong economic driver, especially as hydroelectric dam and road projects gain steam. Several policy changes since 2004 may help spur growth. In late 2004, Laos gained Normal Trade Relations status with the US, allowing Laos-based producers to benefit from lower tariffs on exports. Laos is taking steps to join the World Trade Organization in the next few years; the resulting trade policy reforms will improve the business environment. On the fiscal side, a value-added tax (VAT) regime, slated to begin in 2008, should help streamline the government's inefficient tax system.
GDP (purchasing power parity)
Definition - World rank and map
$12.65 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate)
Definition
$4.028 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate
Definition - World rank and map
7.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita
Definition - World rank and map
$2,100 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector
Definition
agriculture: 41.3%
industry: 32.2%
services: 26.5% (2007 est.)
Labor force
Definition
2.1 million (2006 est.)
Labor force - by occupation
Definition
agriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate
Definition - World rank and map
2.4% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line
Definition
30.7% (2005 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share
Definition
lowest 10%: 3.4%
highest 10%: 28.5% (2002)
Distribution of family income - Gini index
Definition - World rank and map
34.6 (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)
Definition - World rank and map
4.5% (2007 est.)
Budget
Definition
revenues: $472.3 million
expenditures: $646.1 million (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products
Definition
sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, tea, peanuts, rice; water buffalo, pigs, cattle, poultry
Industries
Definition
copper, tin, gold, and gypsum mining; timber, electric power, agricultural processing, construction, garments, tourism, cement
Industrial production growth rate
Definition - World rank and map
12% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production
Definition - World rank and map
1.715 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
1.193 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
178.7 kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports
Definition
728 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports
Definition
326 million kWh (2005)
Oil - production
Definition - World rank and map
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
2,950 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption per 1,000 people
Definition - World rank and map
0.4 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports
Definition - World rank and map
0 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports
Definition - World rank and map
2,898 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption per capita
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves
Definition - World rank and map
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance
Definition - World rank and map
-$930 million (2007 est.)
Exports
Definition - World rank and map
$970 million (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities
Definition
wood products, coffee, electricity, tin, copper, gold
Exports - partners
Definition
Thailand 35.7%, Vietnam 11.3%, China 6.2%, Taiwan 4% (2006)
Imports
Definition - World rank and map
$1.376 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities
Definition
machinery and equipment, vehicles, fuel, consumer goods
Imports - partners
Definition
Thailand 70%, China 8.5%, Vietnam 5.7% (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold
Definition - World rank and map
$541 million (31 December 2007 est.)
Debt - external
Definition - World rank and map
$3.179 billion (2006)
Economic aid - recipient
Definition
$379 million (2006 est.)
Currency (code)
Definition
kip (LAK)
Exchange rates
Definition
kips per US dollar - 9,658 (2007), 10,235 (2006), 10,820 (2005), 10,585.5 (2004), 10,569 (2003)
Fiscal year
Definition
1 October - 30 September


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