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    Laos Economy - 1991

      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 the IMF and other international sources; foreign aid from the USSR and Eastern Europe is being cut sharply.

      GDP: $600 million, per capita $150; real growth rate 5% (1990 est.)

      Inflation rate (consumer prices): 22% (1990 est.)

      Unemployment rate: 21% (1989 est.)

      Budget: revenues $83 million; expenditures $188.5 million, including capital expenditures of $94 million (1990 est.)

      Exports: $72 million (f.o.b., 1990 est.); commodities--electricity, wood products, coffee, tin; partners--Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, USSR, US

      Imports: $238 million (c.i.f., 1990 est.); commodities--food, fuel oil, consumer goods, manufactures; partners--Thailand, USSR, Japan, France, Vietnam

      External debt: $1.1 billion (1990 est.)

      Industrial production: growth rate 8% (1989 est.); accounts for about 20% of GDP

      Electricity: 176,000 kW capacity; 1,100 million kWh produced, 270 kWh per capita (1990)

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

      Agriculture: accounts for 60% of GDP and employs most of the work force; subsistence farming predominates; normally self-sufficient in non-drought years; principal crops--rice (80% of cultivated land), sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, sugarcane, cotton; livestock--buffaloes, hogs, cattle, chicken

      Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis and opium poppy for the international drug trade

      Economic aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-79), $276 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-88), $546 million; Communist countries (1970-89), $995 million

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

      Exchange rates: new kips (NK) per US$1--695 (April 1991), 700 (September 1990), 576 (1989), 385 (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 1991 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Laos Economy 1991 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Laos Economy 1991 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 08-Feb-03
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