Laos' Ministry of Industry and Trade reports that the country's imports for the first nine months of this year total $621 million, a 26% decline from the same period in 2006, while exports increase 4.4% to more than $648 million. The statistics lead Lao officials to believe that they will definitely have a trade surplus for 2007.
According to VOA Bangkok stringer, Lao authorities attribute import decline to rising price of fuel and the weak value of the kip, which led businesses to import less.
Laos' central bank governor Phouphet Khamphounvong says the fact that foreign currencies are widely circulated and accepted for big item purchases in domestic markets is one factor that contributes to the continued weakening of the kip, leading to lack of confidence in the currency among the populace.
Listen to our report for more details in Lao.