Myanmar: Economy

Myanmar’s economy is on track to grow by 7.8% in both Fiscal Year 2014 (ending 31 March 2015) and in FY2015. Growth is supported by rising investment propelled by improved business confidence, commodity exports, rising production of natural gas, buoyant tourism, and credit growth - all complemented by the government’s ambitious structural reform program.

Selected Economic Indicators (%) - Myanmar 2014 2015
ADO 2014 Update ADO 2014 Update
GDP Growth 7.8 7.8 7.8 7.8
Inflation 6.6 6.6 6.9 6.9
Current Account Balance (share of GDP) -5.1 -5.1 -4.8 -4.8

Source: ADB estimates.

Inflation increased to average 6.0% in the first quarter of FY2014 and is still seen at 6.6% for the full fiscal year, rising slightly in FY2015. Factors contributing to inflation include a boost to public sector wages, higher electricity tariffs, and rising property prices in cities. Exports have performed reasonably well so far this year, bolstered by exports of oil and gas, and imports have remained strong. The Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2014 Update retains forecasts of current account deficits of about 5% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Provisional results of the 2014 national census put the country’s population at 51.4 million, compared with previous estimates of about 60 million. The new figure will require recalculation of per capita indicators. In the area of economic reform, the government has liberalized the telecommunications sector and it plans to issue licenses to a number of shortlisted foreign banks to enter the market in a move that is expected to improve efficiency in the banking sector. Myanmar’s application to join the global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative was accepted in July, marking a step forward to improved accountability in the governance of oil, gas, and minerals.

Risks to the outlook come from ethnic and sectarian tensions, vulnerability to bad weather, and the possibility that reform momentum may slow in the lead-up to general elections scheduled for late 2015.

Source: ADB. 2014. Asian Development Outlook 2014 Update. Manila.