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Country risk of Myanmar : Economy

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Over the last few years, Myanmar has undergone an unprecedented process of economic and political liberalisation, which led the United States to lift sanctions on the country which had been in place for almost two decades. Nevertheless, the elected government was overthrown by a military coup d'état in February 2021, which prompted the U.S. government decision to authorize new sanctions, adding uncertainty to the country’s future economic performance. According to figures from the IMF, Myanmar’s GDP grew by 6.8% in 2019; however, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and the following global crisis it caused slowed down the country’s growth, estimated at 3.2% in 2020 before plummeting at -17.2% in 2021 following the military coup. For 2022, the IMF forecasts a return to -0.1% of growth before +2.5% in 2023 (IMF, 2022).

The general government gross debt increased to 39.3% of GDP in 2020, from 38.8% one year earlier, and followed an upward trend in 2021 at 58.4%. It should reach 63.5% of GDP in 2022 and 66.8% in 2023 (IMF, 2022). For fiscal year 2019-20, the deficit was estimated at 5.8% of GDP. According to the national Finance Commission, the government budget deficit is expected to reach 5.6% of GDP in fiscal year 2020-21 (which started in October 2020) due to lower tax revenues and falling gas prices (-1.5% of GDP) and increased spending for the implementation of several COVID-19 support measures. Amid lower demand, inflation decelerated to 5.7% in 2020 (from 8.6% one year earlier), and then 4.1% in 2021. It should remain high and reach 6.5% in 2022 and 6.8% in 2023 (IMF, 2022). While infrastructure and capital spending as part of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan is expected to contribute to economic activity, the continued humanitarian crisis affecting the state of Rakhine could dampen donor financing and investor sentiment. Furthermore, the military coup d’état is expected to cause a drop in FDI inflows as Europe and the U.S. are pondering the introduction of new economic sanctions in response to the violent crackdown on civilians.

According to the Myanmar Statistical Information Service - MMSIS, unemployment rate  reached 1.79% in 2020 from 0.7% in 2019. However, the salary of many workers does not allow them to meet the daily needs of their families. Myanmar lost about 1.6 million jobs in 2021 amid the combined shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic and military coup (International Labour Organization, January 2022). Myanmar counts among the poorest countries in Asia – with one-third of its population living under the poverty line, particularly in rural areas - and is among the most corrupted countries in the world (with a ranking of 140/180 in the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index of 2021).


Indicator of Economic Freedom


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.

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Main Online Newspapers
Myanmar Times
Myanmar (Burma) News Sites and Newspapers
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: October 2022