Economy Expected to Average 7.1 Percent Growth Over Next Three Years

By The Irrawaddy 31 January 2017

RANGOON — Burma’s economy is expected to grow by an average of 7.1 percent per year in the next three years, amid easing inflation and a rise in investments in infrastructure and sectors such as light manufacturing and hospitality, the World Bank said in a report on Monday.

While the economic outlook is relatively favorable, risks to stable growth include a narrow production base, a more competitive global market, a lack of diversification in commodities and higher prices for international commodities, according to the latest edition of the bank’s Myanmar Economic Monitor.

The report suggests that Burma should take steps to tackle a cautious approach among investors by improving the “clarity, communication and credibility” of its economic policies.

An economic vision building on the 12-point economic policy issued last July, complemented by regular reporting on near-term economic policies and conditions, could help anchor economic expectations and sustain investor confidence, the report said.

“Policies to sustain stable and inclusive growth are critical for creating more opportunities for people to earn and have better jobs in Myanmar,” said World Bank Burma Country Manager Abdoulaye Seck. “They are also important for reducing the high inflation that impacts the poor the most adversely.”

Economic growth for 2017 is expected to ‘‘moderate from 7.3 percent in 2015-2016 to 6.5 percent this year,’’ according to the bank. 

It said the new government had “navigated a difficult economic environment during its first six months in office, as the country continued to recover from a decreased supply of commodities due to last year’s floods. The floods, along with low commodity prices and slowing foreign investment, contributed to widening current account and fiscal deficits.”

The agriculture sector’s recovery from flooding caused by Cyclone Komen was hampered by long-established constraints to productivity in the sector, such as low quality of seeds and fertilizer supply, the report said.