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Burma Economy

    Economy—overview: Burma has a mixed economy with private activity dominant in agriculture, light industry, and transport, and with substantial state-controlled activity, mainly in energy, heavy industry, and the rice trade. Government policy in the last 10 years, 1989-98, has aimed at revitalizing the economy after three decades of tight central planning. Thus, private activity has markedly increased; foreign investment has been encouraged, so far with moderate success; and efforts continue to increase the efficiency of state enterprises. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the volume of black-market trade. A major ongoing problem is the failure to achieve monetary and fiscal stability. Although Burma remains a poor Asian country, its rich resources furnish the potential for substantial long-term increases in income, exports, and living standards. The short-term outlook is for continued sluggish growth because of internal unrest, minimal foreign investment, and the large trade deficit.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$56.1 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 1.1% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$1,200 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 59%
    industry: 11%
    services: 30% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 50% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 18.8 million (FY95/96 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: agriculture 65.2%, industry 14.3%, trade 10.1%, government 6.3%, other 4.1% (FY88/89 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $7.9 billion
    expenditures: $12.2 billion, including capital expenditures of $5.7 billion (FY96/97)

    Industries: agricultural processing; textiles and footwear; wood and wood products; copper, tin, tungsten, iron; construction materials; pharmaceuticals; fertilizer

    Industrial production growth rate: 9.2% (FY95/96 est.)

    Electricity—production: 3.75 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 61.33%
    hydro: 38.67%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 3.75 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: paddy rice, corn, oilseed, sugarcane, pulses; hardwood

    Exports: $940 million (1997)

    Exports—commodities: pulses and beans, teak, rice, rubber, hardwood

    Exports—partners: India 17%, Singapore 14%, China 11%, Thailand 9%, Japan 4% (1997)

    Imports: $2.2 billion (1997)

    Imports—commodities: machinery, transport equipment, construction materials, food products

    Imports—partners: Singapore 30%, Japan 17%, China 10%, Thailand 10%, Malaysia 7% (1997)

    Debt—external: $4.3 billion (1997 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $156.9 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 kyat (K) = 100 pyas

    Exchange rates: kyats (K) per US$1—6.1163 (January 1999), 6.3432 (1998), 6.2418 (1997), 5.9176 (1996), 5.6670 (1995), 5.9749 (1994); unofficial—310-350 (1998)

    Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)