Lao trade drops due to COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-23 13:46:54|Editor: yhy
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VIENTIANE, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The combined trade value of Laos' imports and exports was lower in February mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Total trade for January reached 890 million U.S. dollars, but in February it dropped to 769 million U.S. dollars, according to Lao Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Exports were valued at 410 million U.S. dollars and imports at 480 million U.S. dollars in January with a trade deficit of 70 million U.S. dollars.

February recorded 391 million U.S. dollars in exports and 378 million U.S. dollars in imports with the trade balance 13 million U.S. dollars, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Monday.

The statistics for January do not include electricity exports, and these figures will be updated when available.

Most of Laos' imports come from Thailand, China and Vietnam. However, Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith on last Wednesday ordered the temporary closure of traditional and local level border crossings around the country to prevent COVID-19.

Lao government has set a combined trade target of 13,037 million U.S. dollars for 2020, with a deficit of 193 million U.S. dollars.

Exports in 2020 are expected to reach 6,422 million U.S. dollars and imports 6,615 million U.S. dollars, said the report.

Laos recorded a trade deficit of 137 million U.S. dollars in 2019 even though the value of exports exceeded the yearly plan.

Exports were targeted to hit 5,516 million U.S. dollars but achieved 5,603 million U.S. dollars, while imports were expected to reach 5,775 million U.S. dollars, with 5,740 million U.S. dollars recorded.

The country's prime exports include electricity, copper ore, copper, wood pulp, camera parts, beverages, rubber, livestock, cassava, mixed gold and gold bars, clothing, bananas, electrical machinery and equipment, fruit and nuts.