Illustrative image (Source: VNA)
Vientiane (VNA) – The World Bank (WB) recently forecast that the Lao economy would grow 7 percent in 2016 and 2017, ranking second in Southeast Asia, behind Myanmar.

However, the growth is estimated at only 6.8 percent in 2018.

Senior economist Libo Libuapao from the National Economic Research Institute said the Lao government has revised down the growth rate to 7-7.3 percent from 7.5 percent in 2016-2017 due to the world economic downturn.

Notably, the Chinese economic slowdown also hurt Lao exports to the country as well as reduced Chinese direct investment in Laos.

Earlier, Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Xomdi Duangdi affirmed that the Lao government has set the goal of achieving economic growth at least 7.5 percent per year during the implementation of the national socio-economic development scheme for 2016-2020.

To that end, the agro-forestry sector must grow 3.2 percent, industry up 9.3 percent and services up 8.9 percent annually, and the total capital inflow into Lao projects must reach 27 billion USD during the period.

According to the WB, the Southeast Asian economy this year will expand 5.8 percent from 2015 and 5.7 percent in 2017 and 2018.-VNA