Hanoi (VNA) – Laos enjoyed increasing trade surplus in three consecutive months of this year, despite the continuing depreciation of the Kip and rising costs of production and consumables.

Local media cited statistics from the Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce as reported that the country's trade surplus was recorded at 41 million USD in January, rising to 48 million USD in February, and 78.3 million USD in March.

The total value of goods imported and exported in January reached 1.15 billion USD, of which exports were valued at 598 million USD and imports at 557 million USD. The total trade value in February was 989 million USD, including 519 million USD worth of exported goods and 471 million USD of imported goods. Last month, the total value of trade was recorded at 1.07 billion USD, comprising 577.8 million USD worth of exports and 499.5 million USD worth of imports.

These statistics do not include the value of electricity exported and will be updated when this information becomes available.

Laos’s main export products are gold, gold bars, paper and paper products, copper ore, rubber, cassava, iron ore, bananas, clothing, shoes, and copper and copper items.

The main items imported are vehicles (excluding motorcycles and tractors), diesel and mechanical equipment (excluding motor vehicles), precious and semi-precious stones, wood and paper scraps, auto parts (including tyres, windshields and chains), plastic products, electronic equipment and electrical appliances, petrol, and chemical products.

The nation's five top export markets are China, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and India, while the main countries from which goods are imported are Thailand, China, Vietnam, Switzerland and the US.

The Lao government is aiming for a trade surplus of at least 1.55 billion USD this year despite the country’s economic difficulties triggered in part by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The value of exports is projected to reach 7.6 billion USD while the value of imports is forecast at 6.05 billion USD, according to a recent report from the Lao Prime Minister’s Office.

To achieve this goal, the government has pledged to boost agricultural production and the processing of goods for export, especially to China, whose market can now be more easily accessed via the Laos-China Railway.

In recent decades, the government has attempted to increase exports while minimising imports so as to earn more foreign currency.

In 2021, Laos recorded a trade surplus of 1 billion USD, with the value of exports amounting to 7 billion USD and imports valued at 6 billion USD./.