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    Laos Economy - 1990

      Overview: One of the world's poorest nations, Laos has had a Communist centrally planned economy with government ownership and control of productive enterprises of any size. Recently, however, the government has been decentralizing control and encouraging private enterprise. Laos is a landlocked country with a primitive infrastructure, that is, it has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, limited external and internal telecommunications, and electricity available in only a limited area. Subsistence agriculture is the main occupation, accounting for over 60% of GDP and providing about 85-90% of total employment. The predominant crop is rice. For the foreseeable future the economy will continue to depend for its survival on foreign aid--from CEMA, IMF, and other international sources.

      GDP: $585 million, per capita $150; real growth rate 3% (1989 est.)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 35% (1989 est.)

      Unemployment rate: 15% (1989 est.)

      Budget: revenues $71 million; expenditures $198 million, including capital expenditures of $132 million (1988 est.)

      Exports: $57.5 million (f.o.b., 1989 est.); commodities-- electricity, wood products, coffee, tin; partners--Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, USSR, US

      Imports: $219 million (c.i.f., 1989 est.); commodities--food, fuel oil, consumer goods, manufactures; partners--Thailand, USSR, Japan, France, Vietnam

      External debt: $964 million (1989 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate 8% (1989 est.)

      Electricity: 176,000 kW capacity; 900 million kWh produced, 225 kWh per capita (1989)

      Industries: tin mining, timber, electric power, agricultural processing

      Agriculture: accounts for 60% of GDP and employs most of the work force; subsistence farming predominates; normally self-sufficient; principal crops--rice (80% of cultivated land), potatoes, vegetables, coffee, sugarcane, cotton

      Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis and opium poppy for the international drug trade; production of cannabis increased in 1989; marijuana and heroin are shipped to Western countries, including the US

      Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-79), $276 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $468 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $895 million

      Currency: new kip (plural--kips); 1 new kip (NK) = 100 at

      Exchange rates: new kips (NK) per US$1--700 (December 1989), 725 (1989), 350 (1988), 200 (1987), 108 (1986), 95 (1985)

      Fiscal year: 1 July-30 June

      NOTE: The information regarding Laos on this page is re-published from the 1990 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Laos Economy 1990 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Laos Economy 1990 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 07-Feb-03
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