Burma Economy 2010

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Burma Economy 2010

Page last updated on January 20, 2010

Economy - overview:
Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, 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, and mining. The business climate is widely perceived as opaque, corrupt, and highly inefficient. 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 damaged 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 junta leaders. The global crisis of 2008-09 has 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):
$56.49 billion (2009 est.)

$55.93 billion (2008 est.)
$55.32 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate):
$26.52 billion (2009 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2009 est.)

1.1% (2008 est.)
3.4% (2007 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$1,200 (2009 est.)

$1,200 (2008 est.)
$1,200 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 42.9%
industry: 19.8%
services: 37.3% (2009 est.)

Labor force:
30.85 million (2009 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 70%
industry: 7%
services: 23% (2001)

Unemployment rate:
4.9% (2009 est.)

5% (2008 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):
14.6% of GDP (2009 est.)

revenues: $1.142 billion
expenditures: $2.354 billion (2009 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.7% (2009 est.)

26.8% (2008 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
12% (31 December 2008)

12% (31 December 2007)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
17% (31 December 2008)

17% (31 December 2007)

Stock of money:
$NA (31 December 2008)

$598 billion (31 December 2007)
note: this number reflects the vastly overvalued official exchange rate of 5.38 kyat per dollar; at the unofficial black market rate of 1,305 kyat per dollar, 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

Stock of quasi money:
$NA (31 December 2008)

$216.9 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of domestic credit:
$NA (31 December 2008)

$887.7 billion (31 December 2007)

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Agriculture - products:
rice, pulses, beans, sesame, groundnuts, sugarcane; hardwood; fish and fish products

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:
0.2% (2009 est.)

Electricity - production:
6.286 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - consumption:
4.403 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2008 est.)

Oil - production:
22,120 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
41,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
2,200 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - imports:
18,250 bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
50 million bbl (1 January 2009 est.)

Natural gas - production:
12.4 billion cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
3.85 billion cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - exports:
8.55 billion cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2008 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
283.2 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)

Current account balance:
$924 million (2009 est.)

$1.281 billion (2008 est.)

$6.504 billion (2009 est.)

$6.677 billion (2008 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 52.3%, India 12.7%, China 8.9%, Japan 4.4% (2008)

$3.555 billion (2009 est.)

$3.388 billion (2008 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 31.9%, Thailand 21.2%, Singapore 20.7%, Malaysia 5.1%, Indonesia 4% (2008)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.561 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

$3.412 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$7.373 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

$7.946 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Exchange rates:
kyats (MMK) per US dollar - 1,090 (2009), 1,205 (2008), 1,296 (2007), 1,280 (2006), 5.761 (2005)
note: unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2004 from 815 kyat/US dollar to nearly 970 kyat/US dollar, and by yearend 2005, the unofficial exchange rate was 1,075 kyat/US dollar; data shown for 2003-05 are official exchange rates

NOTE: The information regarding Burma on this page is re-published from the 2010 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Burma Economy 2010 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Burma Economy 2010 should be addressed to the CIA.

This page was last modified 09-Feb-10
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