Laos: Inflation jumps to 30.01 percent in August
The year-on-year inflation rate continues to rise significantly, with 30.01 percent recorded in August this year, according to the latest report from the Lao Statistics Bureau.
This is the highest figure recorded in more than two decades, inflicting more hardship on people struggling to earn a living.
The consumer price index rose from 23.6 percent in June to 25.6 percent in July, with price rises reported across all categories.
The continuing depreciation of the kip and skyrocketing fuel prices, compounded with the high cost of products as a result of imported fertiliser and animal feed are among the key factors driving inflation in Laos.
Laos is heavily reliant on imports when it comes to machinery, animal feed, fertiliser and other agricultural inputs needed for commercial cattle and chicken farming, and the cultivation of vegetables.
Economists are deeply concerned about the continuing rise in food prices, especially as farmland in some parts of the country has been devastated in recent flooding.
Laos has one of the highest inflation rates in Southeast Asia. The growing demand for the foreign currencies needed to import goods and repay debts is causing the kip to weaken further.
In August, costs in the communications and transport category rose by 51.7 percent year-on-year. The price rise in this category was driven by the price of fuel, vehicles and associated costs.
The price of fuel and vehicles went up by 96.4 percent and 57.2 percent year on year respectively. Meanwhile the cost of spare parts and automobile repair, and transport services rose by 24.6 percent and 17.7 percent year on year respectively.
The cost of medical care and medicines increased by 38.3 percent year-on-year, with the price of medicines rising by 42.4 percent and hospital services by 15.2 percent year on year respectively.
Also of interest is the surge in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages in August. In July, the price rise in this category was recorded at 21.6 percent year-on-year, rising 30.2 percent. The price of rice, meat, and fish and seafood went up by 35.2 percent, 22.3 percent and 26.7 percent year on year respectively.
The price of eggs (a basic food for low-income earners) on sale in markets jumped from 40,000 kip per box of 30 eggs in April to 55,000-57,000 kip per box at present.
In August, the price of cooking oil, fruit and seasoning rose by 121.8 percent, 31.1 percent and 47.6 percent year on year respectively.
In other categories, the price of house goods increased by 23.4 percent year on year, the hotel and restaurant category (22.3 percent), goods and services (25.7 percent), education (9.2 percent), clothing and footwear (20.5 percent), and housing, water supply, electricity and gas (20.5 percent).