Vientiane: Laos recorded an inflation rate of 40.97 per cent in March, the first drop from the previous month since August 2021, according to official data.
The data released by the Lao Statistics Bureau showed inflation fell slightly to 40.97 per cent in March, down from the 41.26 per cent recorded in February, but the cost of all goods and services remains high, reports Xinhua news agency.
In March, the highest price rises were recorded in the food and non-alcoholic beverage category which surged by 51 per cent year-on-year, followed by the medical care and medicines category at 41.78 per cent.
In addition, the cost of communications and transport category stood at 41.75 per cent. The cost of hotel and restaurant category rose by 36.87 per cent.
Meanwhile, the cost of household utilities stood at 34.98 per cent. The cost of housing, water, electricity and gas category stood at 27.18 per cent.
Economists are concerned that the price of food will continue to rise in April, when most people celebrate the Lao New Year in mid-April, which typically sparks a surge in the demand for food.
Meanwhile, the government has ordered the relevant sectors to keep a check on the price of products on sale at local markets to minimise the impacts on the poorest people.
The depreciation of the Lao kip against the US dollar and Thai baht is among the key factors driving inflation in Laos.
The weak kip makes it challenging for the Lao government to curb the rising cost of goods and services.
Laos needs to strongly promote domestic productivity, reduce imports and promote investment in sectors that have the potential to bring foreign currency into the country, according to the report.
Inflation in Laos has increased significantly since the beginning of 2022, with the rate surging from 6.25 per cent in January 2022 to 41.26 per cent in February 2023.