Laos, Trying to Build Its Way to an Economic Boom, Could Be Sunk by Debt

The Yumo railway, which will connect Laos to China, under construction in Yunnnan province, China, May 26, 2019 (TPG photo via AP Images).
The Yumo railway, which will connect Laos to China, under construction in Yunnnan province, China, May 26, 2019 (TPG photo via AP Images).
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Is Laos on the edge of an economic boom, or a bust? Six of the 11 countries in Southeast Asia have an external debt higher than the developing world average of 26 percent of gross national income, according to a report last year by FT Confidential Research, an independent research service from the Financial Times. Laos was the worst offender, with an external debt of 93.1 percent of its GNI. Laos was also weakest when it came to its ability to repay loans. Its ratio of external debt to exports, an important indicator, was 327.9 percent. Foreign currency reserves are […]

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