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What is the Lao Kip (LAK)?

Credit Ratings & Outlook

Sovereign credit ratings play an important part in determining a country’s access to international capital markets, and the terms of that access. Sovereign ratings help to foster dramatic growth, stability, and efficiency of international and domestic markets.

GDP

In 2010 the total GDP was $7,296,361,373 in US Dollars, while the per capita GDP was $1,176. It grew by 8.45% over the previous year.

Unemployment

The latest unemployment rate for 2009 is 2.50%.

Consumer Price Index

The latest consumer price index for 2010 is 127.38.

Political Structure

The current head of the government is Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, and the head of state is President Choummaly Sayasone (in an executive role).

Currency Details

The Lao Kip, denoted by the ISO code LAK, is the official currency of Laos. One kip is subdivided into 100 At. A currency reform took place in 1979, with the exchange rate of 100 old kip being replaced by one new kip. One EUR is equal to 13,636 LAK and 1 USD is equal to 10,500 LAK. The country only uses banknotes. No coins are in circulation in Laos. In the late 1990′s Laos’s economy had experienced over 100% inflation and 500% depreciation.

Sovereign Ratings for Laos

Laos is not rated.

What does it look like?

Political Structure

Laos has a communistic government with three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch consists of a president, vice president, prime minister, first deputy prime minister, two deputy prime ministers, and a cabinet. The National Assembly elects the president and vice president for a five-year term. The president with approval of the National Assembly for a five-year term appoints the prime minister. The prime minister appoints all the deputy ministers. The cabinet also called the Council of Ministers is appointed by the president, however has to be approved by the National Assembly. The legislative branch is a unicameral National Assembly with 109 seats. All of the members serve a five-year term and are elected by popular vote. The judicial branch consists of a People’s Supreme Court. The National Assembly on the recommendation of the National Assembly Standing Committee elects the president of the People’s Supreme Court. The National Assembly Standing Committee appoints the vice president and the judges of the People’s Supreme Court.

Prominent Figures

Chief of State President Lt. Gen. CHOUMMALI Saignason (since 8 June 2006); Vice President BOUN-GNANG Volachit (since 8 June 2006) Head of Government Prime Minister BOUASONE Bouphavanh (since 8 June 2006); Deputy Prime Ministers Maj. Gen. ASANG Laoli (since May 2002), Lt. Gen. DOUANGCHAI Phichit (since 8 June 2006), SOMSAVAT Lengsavat (since 26 February 1998), and THONGLOUN Sisoulit (since 27 March 2001) Cabinet Ministers appointed by president, approved by National Assembly Elections president and vice president elected by National Assembly for five-year terms; election last held 8 June 2006 (next to be held in 2011); prime minister nominated by president and elected by National Assembly for five-year term Election Results CHOUMMALI Saignason elected president; BOUN-GNANG Volachit elected vice president; percent of National Assembly vote – 100%; BOUASONE Bouphavanh elected prime minister; percent of National Assembly vote – 97%

Key Economic Factors

Agriculture, mostly consisting of rice farming, makes up the majority of the economy, employing an estimated 85% of the population and producing 51% of GDP. With very little domestic saving, Laos is forced to rely heavily on foreign assistance and concessional loans as investment sources for economic development. The Asian financial crisis, coupled with the Lao Government’s own mismanagement of the economy, resulted in spiraling inflation and a steep depreciation of the kip, which lost 87% of its value from June 1997 to June 1999.

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