flag Myanmar Myanmar: Economic Outline

Economic Indicators

Over the last decade, Myanmar underwent an unprecedented process of economic and political liberalization, which led the United States to lift sanctions on the country that had been in place for almost two decades. Nevertheless, the elected government was overthrown by a military coup d'état in February 2021, prompting the U.S. government's decision to authorize new sanctions, adding uncertainty to the country’s future economic performance. Towards the end of 2023, conflict across large parts of Myanmar intensified, leading to displacement, labor scarcities, and heightened logistics expenses. The World Bank estimated the 2023 growth rate at 4%, following a 12% contraction the previous year. Agriculture continued to face challenges due to elevated input expenses, conflict, trade constraints, and flooding. Real GDP growth is projected to decelerate to 1% in FY23/24 and 2% in the subsequent year, primarily due to disruptions in the supply chain and the effects of uncertainty stemming from conflict on consumption, investment, and productive activities.

During the fiscal year 2022/23, the budget deficit widened to 6.4% of GDP, primarily due to a contraction in revenue that outweighed a modest decrease in spending. Expenditure on goods and services declined by nearly 2% of GDP, partially offset by increased capital spending. Approximately 70% of gross public financing needs (about 4.8% of GDP) were covered by the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM), mainly from domestic sources. Despite efforts, total public debt remained above 60% of GDP. The impact of budget deficits on the debt-to-GDP ratio was broadly offset by faster inflation. Headline inflation reached 28.6% (year-on-year) in June 2023, moderating only slightly from its peak of 35% in December 2022, driven by surges in food and transport prices reflecting exchange rate depreciation and increased conflict (data from the World Bank). Authorities introduced price control measures and export restrictions to respond to the sharp increase in food prices. As of the end of February 2024, the gap between the parallel market rate and the official reference rate had widened to around 60-70%, with persistent shortages of US dollars at rates below the market value. In December, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) partially eased foreign currency restrictions.

Unemployment was estimated at 2.9% in 2023 by the World Bank; however, the salary of many workers does not allow them to meet the daily needs of their families. Household incomes remain adversely affected by consecutive shocks. According to the Myanmar Household Welfare Survey conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute, 40% of surveyed households reported lower income in the first half of 2023 compared to the previous year, while only 25% reported an increase. IFPRI indicates that median real incomes declined by 10.2% over the same period. A newly implemented national conscription law, which requires citizens across different age groups to serve a two-year military term based on their occupational status, has introduced further uncertainty, potentially leading to outward migration flows. Additionally, armed conflicts have disrupted crucial trade.

 
Main Indicators 20222023 (E)2024 (E)2025 (E)2026 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 66.1674.8679.2783.5887.96
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) 2.02.62.62.52.6
GDP per Capita (USD) 1,2281,3811,4541,5251,598
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 60.057.559.361.263.0
Inflation Rate (%) n/a14.27.87.87.8
Current Account (billions USD) -2.84-1.18-1.21-1.50-1.27
Current Account (in % of GDP) -4.3-1.6-1.5-1.8-1.4

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database - October 2021.

Note: (e) Estimated Data


 
Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Myanmar Kyat (MMK) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 GHS 309.49312.68311.82294.65255.34

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

Main Sectors of Industry

 
Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 46.5 18.6 35.0
Value Added (in % of GDP) 20.3 41.1 38.6
Value Added (Annual % Change) -3.0 8.6 1.6

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

 

The Active Population in Figures

201820192020
Labour Force 24,691,81824,188,08822,951,469

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 
201720182019
Total activity rate 66.16%66.47%64.51%
Men activity rate 81.69%81.39%80.01%
Women activity rate 51.83%52.68%50.17%

Source: International Labour Organization, ILOSTAT database

 

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Indicator of Economic Freedom

Definition:

The Economic freedom index measure ten components of economic freedom, grouped into four broad categories or pillars of economic freedom: Rule of Law (property rights, freedom from corruption); Limited Government (fiscal freedom, government spending); Regulatory Efficiency (business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom); and Open Markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom). Each of the freedoms within these four broad categories is individually scored on a scale of 0 to 100. A country’s overall economic freedom score is a simple average of its scores on the 10 individual freedoms.

Score:
55,2/100
World Rank:
135
Regional Rank:
30

Economic freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation

 
 

Country Risk

See the country risk analysis provided by Coface.

 

Indicator of Political Freedom

Definition:

The Indicator of Political Freedom provides an annual evaluation of the state of freedom in a country as experienced by individuals. The survey measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. The ratings process is based on a checklist of 10 political rights questions (on Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government) and 15 civil liberties questions (on Freedom of Expression, Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Rule of Law, Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights). Scores are awarded to each of these questions on a scale of 0 to 4, where a score of 0 represents the smallest degree and 4 the greatest degree of rights or liberties present. The total score awarded to the political rights and civil liberties checklist determines the political rights and civil liberties rating. Each rating of 1 through 7, with 1 representing the highest and 7 the lowest level of freedom, corresponds to a range of total scores.

Ranking:
Not Free
Political Freedom:
6/7

Political freedom in the world (interactive map)
Source: Freedom in the World Report, Freedom House

 

Indicator of Freedom of the Press

Definition:

The world rankings, published annually, measures violations of press freedom worldwide. It reflects the degree of freedom enjoyed by journalists, the media and digital citizens of each country and the means used by states to respect and uphold this freedom. Finally, a note and a position are assigned to each country. To compile this index, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) prepared a questionnaire incorporating the main criteria (44 in total) to assess the situation of press freedom in a given country. This questionnaire was sent to partner organisations,150 RWB correspondents, journalists, researchers, jurists and human rights activists. It includes every kind of direct attacks against journalists and digital citizens (murders, imprisonment, assault, threats, etc.) or against the media (censorship, confiscation, searches and harassment etc.).

World Rank:
140/180

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Sources of General Economic Information

Main Online Newspapers and Portals
Myanmar News
Irrawaddy News
Mizzima News
Useful Resources
Ministry of Planning and Finance
Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations
Central Bank of Myanmar
 
 

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Latest Update: May 2024