Laos records first trade surplus of US$48 million for 2023

Laos registered the first ever trade surplus of 2023 in February, when exports were worth US$505 million and imports were worth US$457 million.
Total two-way trade for the month stood at US$962 million and the surplus was US$48 million, according to the latest figures unveiled on March 16 by the Lao Trade Portal under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
According to the latest data, cassava was the main export, followed by mixed gold and gold bars, copper ore, salt, wood pulp and paper scraps.
The main imports included diesel, mechanical equipment, land vehicles, gasoline and iron and steel products.
Among exports, cassava sales generated US$85 million, while the export of mixed gold and gold bars generated US$46 million, and US$35 million came from the export of copper ore.
Exports of salt generated US$34 million, US$30 million was generated by the export of wood pulp and paper scraps, and the export of paper and paper products earned US$28 million. The export of sugar generated US$26 million, US$22 million came from the export of clothes, US$21 million from the export of bananas, and US$20 million from the export of iron ore.
Laos spent almost half a billion US dollars on the import of diesel, mechanical equipment, land vehicles, gasoline, electric cables, wood pulp and vehicle spare parts.
Last month, Laos paid US$83 million to import diesel, US$31 million for mechanical equipment, US$27 million for land vehicles, US$19 million for gasoline, US$18 million for steel and steel products, US$18 for plastic products, US$17 million for electric lines and cables, US$15 million for vehicle spare parts, US$14 million for beverages and US$13 million for wood pulp and paper waste.
In February alone, the country’s exports to China were worth US$173 million, and the other key export destinations were Thailand (US$116 million), Vietnam (US$106 million), Australia (US$23 million), and Hongkong (US$13 million).
Laos also spent US$257 million on importing goods from Thailand, US$115 million on imports from China, US$22 million on imports from Vietnam, US$14 million on imports from the United States of America and US$8 million on imports from Japan.
The overall trade figure of US$962 million for February does not include the value of electricity exports.
In January, total two-way trade was worth US$935 million, and there was a trade deficit of US$13 million.