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Introduction - Burma:
Location - Burma:
People - Burma:
Government - Burma:
Economy - Burma:

Economy overview

Burma, a resource-rich country, suffers from pervasive government controls, inefficient economic policies, and rural poverty. The junta took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the Burmese Way to Socialism, but those efforts stalled, and some of the liberalization measures were rescinded. Lacking monetary or fiscal stability, 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. Most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta began to suppress the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently refused to honor the results of the 1990 legislative elections. In response to the government of Burmas attack in May 2003 on AUNG SAN SUU KYI and her convoy, the US imposed new economic sanctions in August 2003 against Burma - including a ban on imports of Burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by US persons. Further, a poor investment climate hampers attracting outside investment slowing the inflow of foreign exchange. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries, especially oil and gas, mining, and timber with the latter especially causing environmental degradation. Other areas, such as manufacturing and services, are struggling with inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable import/export policies, deteriorating health and education systems, and endemic corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 shuttered the countrys 20 private banks and disrupted the economy. As of 2006, the largest private banks operate under tight restrictions limiting the private sectors access to formal credit. Official statistics are inaccurate. Published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade - often estimated to be as large as the official economy. 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

$85.2 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$9.6 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

3% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$1,800 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 50%
industry: 15%
services: 35% (2006 est.)

Labor force

28.49 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 70%
industry: 7%
services: 23% (2001 est.)

Unemployment rate

10.2% (2006 est.)

Population below poverty line

25% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.8%
highest 10%: 32.4% (1998)

Inflation rate consumer prices

21.4% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

11.8% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $2.18 billion
expenditures: $2.36 billion; including capital expenditures of $NA (2006 est.)

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; natural gas; garments, jade and gems

Industrial production growth rate


Electricity production

6.02 billion kWh (FY05/06)

Electricity consumption

5.325 billion kWh (FY05/06)

Electricity exports

0 kWh (2006)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2006)

Oil production

9,500 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil consumption

20,460 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil exports

5,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil imports

19,180 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil proved reserves

less than 50 million bbl (1 January 2005)

Natural gas production

10.2 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

2.7 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas exports

7.5 billion cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas imports

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas proved reserves

283.2 billion cu m (1 January 2005 est.)

Current account balance

$1.247 billion (2006 est.)


$3.56 billion f.o.b.
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 (2006 est.)

Exports commodities

gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice, clothing, jade and gems

Exports partners

Thailand 48.4%, India 12.6%, China 5.2%, Japan 5.1% (2006)


$1.98 billion f.o.b.
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 (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

fabric, petroleum products, fertilizer, plastics, machinery, transport equipment; cement, construction materials, crude oil; food products, edible oil

Imports partners

China 33.6%, Thailand 21.2%, Singapore 15.7%, Malaysia 4.6%, South Korea 4.1% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.01 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$7.162 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient

$127 million (2001 est.)

Currency code

kyat (MMK)

Exchange rates

kyats per US dollar - 1,280 (2006), 5.761 (2005), 5.7459 (2004), 6.0764 (2003), 6.5734 (2002)
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 2002-05 are official exchange rates

Communications - Burma:
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Military - Burma:
This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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