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    Burma Economy - 2004

      Economy - overview:
      Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from government controls and abject rural poverty. The military regime took steps in the early 1990s to liberalize the economy after decades of failure under the "Burmese Way to Socialism", but those efforts have since stalled. Burma has been unable to achieve monetary or fiscal stability, resulting in an economy that suffers from serious macroeconomic imbalances - including a steep inflation rate and an official exchange rate that overvalues the Burmese kyat by more than 100 times the market rate. In addition, most overseas development assistance ceased after the junta suppressed the democracy movement in 1988 and subsequently ignored the results of the 1990 election. A crisis in the private banking sector in early 2003 followed by economic moves against Burma by the United States, the European Union, and Japan - including a US ban on imports from Burma and a Japanese freeze on new bilateral economic aid - further weakened the Burmese economy. Burma is data poor, and official statistics are often dated and inaccurate. Published estimates of Burma's foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and border trade - often estimated to be one to two times the official economy. Better relations with foreign countries and relaxed controls at home are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. In February 2003, a major banking crisis hit the country's 20 private banks, shutting them down and disrupting the economy. In July and August 2003, the United States imposed a ban on all Burmese imports and a ban on provision of financial services, hampering Burma's ability to obtain foreign exchange. As of January 2004, the largest private banks remained moribund, leaving the private sector with little formal access to credit outside of government contracts.

      purchasing power parity - $78.8 billion (2003 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate:
      5.2% (2003 est.)

      GDP - per capita:
      purchasing power parity - $1,900 (2003 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector:
      agriculture: 60%
      industry: 9%
      services: 31% (2002 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):
      52.8% (2003 est.)

      Labor force:
      23.7 million (1999 est.)

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

      Unemployment rate:
      5.1% (2001 est.)

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

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

      Industrial production growth rate:

      Electricity - production:
      6.139 billion kWh (2001)

      Electricity - production by source:
      fossil fuel: 44.5%
      hydro: 43.4%
      other: 12.1% (2002)
      nuclear: 0%

      Electricity - consumption:
      5.709 billion kWh (2001)

      Electricity - exports:
      0 kWh (2001)

      Electricity - imports:
      0 kWh (2001)

      Oil - production:
      18,590 bbl/day (2002 est.)

      Oil - consumption:
      38,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)

      Oil - exports:

      Oil - imports:

      Oil - proved reserves:
      115 million bbl (1 January 2003)

      Natural gas - production:
      7.35 billion cu m (2001 est.)

      Natural gas - consumption:
      2.15 billion cu m (2001 est.)

      Natural gas - exports:
      5.2 billion cu m (2001 est.)

      Natural gas - imports:
      0 cu m (2001 est.)

      Natural gas - proved reserves:
      314.4 billion cu m (1 January 2003)

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

      $2.434 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)

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

      Exports - partners:
      Thailand 31.6%, US 13.1%, India 7.4%, China 4.7% (2002)

      $2.071 billion f.o.b. (2003 est.)

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

      Imports - partners:
      China 27%, Singapore 19.6%, Thailand 12.1%, Malaysia 8.9%, South Korea 5.4%, Taiwan 4.9%, Japan 4.3% (2002)

      Debt - external:
      $6.2 billion (2002 est.)

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

      kyat (MMK)

      Currency code:

      Exchange rates:
      kyats per US dollar - 6.08 (2003), 6.57 (2002), 6.68 (2001), 6.52 (2000), 6.29 (1999), Note: these are official exchange rates; unofficial exchange rates ranged in 2003 from 100 kyat/US dollar to nearly 1000 kyat/US dollar.

      Fiscal year:
      1 April - 31 March

      NOTE: The information regarding Burma on this page is re-published from the 2004 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Burma Economy 2004 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Burma Economy 2004 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-May-04
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