Although one of the few remaining one-party communist states, the Laotian government’s attempts to decentralize control of the economy and encourage private enterprise starting in 1986 have resulted in an annual growth rate of 6% from 1988-2008. Laos’ economy has maintained consistently high GDP rates due to strong growth among its main trading partners in the region, particularly China. High prices on the global commodities market have improved foreign interest in Laos’ extractive sector prospects, and foreign mining companies are increasing production and looking to attain additional concessions. Laos looks to benefit from an increase of agriculture production, which accounts for 33% of GDP and employs 75% of the population, as large swaths of land have been leased to foreign investors for greater agricultural development. Since December 2011, the Laotian government has pursued efforts to promote entrepreneurship as the basis for economic growth by initiating a USD 2 million small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development fund with priority given to agricultural processing companies.
Laos - GDP Growth Rate (%)
Laos - LSXC Composite Index
The Lao Securities Exchange (LSX) was officially opened on the 10th October 2010 with technical and financial support from South Korea. After signing a MOU on 19th September 2007 between the Bank of the Lao PDR and the Korean Exchange (KRX) the Securities Markets Establishment Committee started to work on the project of launching a stock exchange in Laos on 22nd January 2008 . The first two stocks, EDL Generation (EDL) and Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur (BCEL) started finally trading on 11th January 2011. The LSX, headquartered in Vientiane, is 51% owned by the Bank of the Lao PDR and 49% by the Korean Exchange. The LSX has currently 3 brokerage member companies and lists 5 stocks:
Banque Pour Le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL): the country’s largest bank
EDL Generation-Public Company (EDL): a subsidiary of the state-owned energy company Electricite du Laos
Lao World (LWPC): a property services company
Petroleum Trading Lao PCL (PTL): a petroleum trading company which listed on 9th December 2014
Souvanny Home Centre Public Company (SVN): a building material and home improvement products company with shops all over Laos. Trading started on 11th December 2015. Website: http://www.souvanny.com/
The LSX has a total market capitalization of USD 1.3 billion as of May 2017.
Lao Securites Exchange website: www.lsx.com.la