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Burma Main Page

 

Burma's Economy

 

Economy - overview:
Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, corruption, and rural poverty. Despite Burma's emergence as a natural gas exporter, socio-economic conditions have deteriorated under the regime's mismanagement, leaving most of the public in poverty, while military leaders and their business cronies exploit the country's ample natural resources. The economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including rising inflation, fiscal deficits, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, a distorted interest rate regime, unreliable statistics, and an inability to reconcile national accounts to determine a realistic GDP figure. Burma's poor investment climate hampers the inflow of foreign investment; in recent years, foreign investors have shied away from nearly every sector except for natural gas, power generation, timber, and mining. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. Over 60% of the FY 2009-10 budget is allocated to state owned enterprises - most operating at a deficit. The government has recently privatized a number of state owned enterprises, but most of the benefits have accrued to regime insiders and cronies. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries - especially oil and gas, mining, and timber - with the latter two causing significant environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing, tourism and services, struggle in the face of inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable trade policies, neglected health and education systems, and endemic corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 caused 20 private banks to close; private banks still operate under tight restrictions, limiting the private sector's access to credit. The United States, the European Union, Canada, and Australia have imposed financial and economic sanctions on Burma, prohibiting most financial transactions with Burmese entities, imposing travel bans on Burmese officials and others connected to the ruling regime, and banning imports of certain Burmese products. These sanctions affected the country's fledgling garment industry, isolated the struggling banking sector, and raised the costs of doing business with Burmese companies, particularly firms tied to Burmese regime leaders. The global crisis of 2008-09 caused exports and domestic consumer demand to drop. Remittances from overseas Burmese workers - who had provided significant financial support for their families - slowed or dried up as jobs were lost and migrant workers returned home. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote serious foreign investment, exports, and tourism.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$60.07 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 
$58.27 billion (2009 est.)
$57.24 billion (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate):
$35.65 billion (2010 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
3.1% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 117
1.8% (2009 est.)
1.1% (2008 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,100 (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 209
$1,100 (2009 est.)
$1,100 (2008 est.)
note: data are in 2010 US dollars
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 43.2%
industry: 20%
services: 36.8% (2010 est.)
Labor force:
31.68 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 18
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 7%
services: 23% (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate:
5.7% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 56
4.9% (2009 est.)
Population below poverty line:
32.7% (2007 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)
Investment (gross fixed):
15.1% of GDP (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 129
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
9.6% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 197
1.5% (2009 est.)
Central bank discount rate:
12% (31 December 2009)
country comparison to the world: 34
12% (31 December 2008)
Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17% (31 December 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
17% (31 December 2008 est.)
Stock of narrow money:
$4.907 billion (31 December 2010 est)
country comparison to the world: 89
$4.038 billion (31 December 2009 est)
note: this number reflects the vastly overvalued official exchange rate of 5.38 kyat per dollar in 2007; at the unofficial black market rate of 1,305 kyat per dollar for 2007, the stock of kyats would equal only US$2.465 billion and Burma's velocity of money (the number of times money turns over in the course of a year) would be six, in line with the velocity of money for other countries in the region; in 2009, the unofficial black market rate averaged 1,090 kyat per dollar.
Stock of broad money:
$7.8 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 108
$6.231 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Stock of domestic credit:
$8.552 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
$6.858 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares:
$NA
Agriculture - products:
rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products
Industries:
agricultural processing; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; cement, construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; oil and natural gas; garments, jade and gems
Industrial production growth rate:
4.3% (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 77
Electricity - production:
6.286 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
Electricity - consumption:
4.403 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)
Oil - production:
18,880 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
Oil - consumption:
42,000 bbl/day (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 101
Oil - exports:
2,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 112
Oil - imports:
18,250 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
Oil - proved reserves:
50 million bbl (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 78
Natural gas - production:
12.4 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
Natural gas - consumption:
3.85 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 66
Natural gas - exports:
8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 22
Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
Natural gas - proved reserves:
283.2 billion cu m (1 January 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 41
Current account balance:
$652 million (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
$705 million (2009 est.)
Exports:
$7.841 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
$6.862 billion (2009 est.)
note: official export figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of timber, gems, narcotics, rice, and other products smuggled to Thailand, China, and Bangladesh
Exports - commodities:
natural gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice, clothing, jade and gems
Exports - partners:
Thailand 46.57%, India 12.99%, China 9.01%, Japan 5.65% (2009)
Imports:
$4.532 billion (2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 121
$4.02 billion (2009 est.)
note: import figures are grossly underestimated due to the value of consumer goods, diesel fuel, and other products smuggled in from Thailand, China, Malaysia, and India
Imports - commodities:
fabric, petroleum products, fertilizer, plastics, machinery, transport equipment; cement, construction materials, crude oil; food products, edible oil
Imports - partners:
China 33.1%, Thailand 26.28%, Singapore 15.18% (2009)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.762 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
$3.561 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.145 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$7.079 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Exchange rates:
kyats (MMK) per US dollar - 1,000 (2010), 1,055 (2009), 1,205 (2008), 1,296 (2007), 1,280 (2006)
 

 


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