Laos exports up 6% last year

Laos exports up 6% last year

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VIENTIANE – Laos’ exports reached US$2.4 billion (78 billion baht) in 2013, up 6% year-on-year with minerals accounting for the lion’s share, media reports said Friday.

“Some 41% of the exports were mining products, becoming the largest foreign exchange earner in the country,” the Vientiane Times reported.

But the state-run newspaper said mineral exports were expected to decline this year after the closure of gold mining operations in Sepon, southern Laos, by Lane Xang Minerals Limited (LXML).

LXML is 10% owned by the Lao government and 90% by MMG – a subsidiary of the state-owned China Minmetals Group.

“MMG ceased gold operations in December 2013 due to depleting ore reserves and lower margins,” the LXML’s website said. “The gold plant has been placed on care and maintenance while the Sepon operation focuses on copper production.”

After minerals, chiefly gold and copper, Laos’ second-largest foreign exchange earner last year was hydro-electricity, which accounted for 21% of the country’s total exports.

Hydro-electricity is expected to be the economy’s main engine of growth in the future, with a series of dams planned that will have a total capacity to generate 28,000 megawatts, compared with the country’s current capacity of 3,000 MW, most of which is exported to neighbouring Thailand.

The garment industry was the third largest foreign exchange earner, contributing 8 per cent, followed by tourism earnings, the Vientiane Times said.

Laos’ total imports in 2013 reached $2.5 billion, leaving the communist country with a $224 trade deficit.

About the author

Writer: dpa
Position: News agency

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