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    Burma Index 2006

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    Burma Economy - 2006

      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failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism," but those efforts stalled, and some of the liberalization measures were rescinded. Burma does not have monetary or fiscal stability, so the economy suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including inflation, multiple official exchange rates that overvalue the Burmese kyat, and a distorted interest rate regime. 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 Burma's attack in May 2003 on AUNG SAN SUU KYI and her convoy, the US imposed new economic sanctions against Burma - including a ban on imports of Burmese products and a ban on provision of financial services by US persons. A poor investment climate further slowed the inflow of foreign exchange. The most productive sectors will continue to be in extractive industries, especially oil and gas, mining, and timber. Other areas, such as manufacturing and services, are struggling with inadequate infrastructure, unpredictable import/export policies, deteriorating health and education systems, and corruption. A major banking crisis in 2003 shuttered the country's 20 private banks and disrupted the economy. As of December 2005, the largest private banks operate under tight restrictions limiting the private sector's 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. Burma's trade with Thailand, China, and India is rising. 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 foreign investment, exports, and tourism.

      GDP (purchasing power parity):
      $76.36 billion (2005 est.)

      GDP (official exchange rate):
      $8.042 billion (2005 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate:
      1.5% (2005 est.)

      GDP - per capita (PPP):
      $1,600 (2005 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector:
      agriculture: 54.6%
      industry: 13%
      services: 32.4% (2005 est.)

      Labor force:
      27.75 million (2005 est.)

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

      Unemployment rate:
      5% (2005 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):
      25% (2005 est.)

      Investment (gross fixed):
      11.5% of GDP (2005 est.)

      revenues: $473.3 million
      expenditures: $716.6 million; including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY04/05 est.)

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

      agricultural processing; knit and woven apparel; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer; cement; natural gas

      Industrial production growth rate:

      Electricity - production:
      7.393 billion kWh (2003)

      Electricity - consumption:
      6.875 billion kWh (2003)

      Electricity - exports:
      0 kWh (2003)

      Electricity - imports:
      0 kWh (2004)

      Oil - production:
      18,500 bbl/day (2005 est.)

      Oil - consumption:
      32,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

      Oil - exports:
      3,356 bbl/day (2003)

      Oil - imports:
      49,230 bbl/day (2003)

      Oil - proved reserves:
      less than 1 billion bbl (2005)

      Natural gas - production:
      9.98 billion cu m (2003 est.)

      Natural gas - consumption:
      1.569 billion cu m (2003 est.)

      Natural gas - exports:
      8.424 billion cu m (2003 est.)

      Natural gas - imports:
      0 cu m (2003 est.)

      Natural gas - proved reserves:
      283.2 billion cu m (2005)

      Current account balance:
      -$215 million (2005 est.)

      $3.111 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 (2004)

      Exports - commodities:
      clothing, gas, wood products, pulses, beans, fish, rice

      Exports - partners:
      Thailand 38.9%, India 11.5%, China 5.9%, Japan 5.2% (2004)

      $3.454 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 (2004)

      Imports - commodities:
      fabric, petroleum products, plastics, machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, crude oil; food products

      Imports - partners:
      China 29.8%, Singapore 20.8%, Thailand 19.3%, South Korea 5.2%, Malaysia 4.8% (2004)

      Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
      $721.1 million (June 2005)

      Debt - external:
      $6.967 billion (2005 est.)

      Economic aid - recipient:
      $127 million (2001 est.)

      Currency (code):
      kyat (MMK)

      Exchange rates:
      kyats per US dollar - 5.761 (2005), 5.7459 (2004), 6.0764 (2003), 6.5734 (2002), 6.6841 (2001)
      note: these are official exchange rates; unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2004 from 815 kyat/US dollar to nearly 970 kyat/US dollar, and by year-end 2005, the unofficial exchange rate was 1,075 kyat/US dollar

      Fiscal year:
      1 April - 31 March

      NOTE: The information regarding Burma on this page is re-published from the 2006 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Burma Economy 2006 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Burma Economy 2006 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 06-Jun-06
    Copyright © 2006 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)