Sun, 03 Dec 2023

VIENTIANE, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Lao researchers are optimistic about the growth of the Lao economy, which is projected to expand 4.5 percent in 2023 amid global economic challenges.

The economic growth will be driven by the services sector in association with the growth of tourism and processing industries and agricultural production for export, according to the latest report from the Lao Academy of Social and Economic Science (LASES).

Lao News Agency on Monday quoted LASES Vice President Kikeo Chanthaboury as saying that the reopening of China and the launch of cross-border China-Laos railway have significantly bolstered regional trade and people-to-people exchanges.

According to the report, the services sector is expected to grow at 4.8 percent in 2023, driven by the recovery of the tourism sector, wholesale and retail trade, restaurant and hotel services and the logistics sector.

China's economic growth will be beneficial to Laos as China is the main market for Lao agricultural products and the largest investor.

Meanwhile, the agriculture sector is anticipated to grow at 3.5 percent in 2023 as more capital is being pumped into boosting productivity for both domestic consumption and exports.

The industrial sector is expected to grow at 4.6 percent in 2023 and this will be driven by export-related processing industries in special economic zones and the energy sector.

However, Laos is facing pressing challenges such as soaring inflation, high public debt and depreciation of the currency. The Lao government is tightening its monetary policy in response to skyrocketing inflation, which was recorded at 39.89 percent in April, down from 41 percent in March.

While Laos has huge potential to boost commercial production, increase exports, and benefit from China-Laos railway and tourism, concerned sectors need to do more to turn the country into a regional hub and seize opportunities offered by the railway, according to the report.

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