By WAI MOE
Military-ruled Burma’s economic growth will be diminished in 2009 because of the weaker performances of the country’s major partners, said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in its Asian Development Outlook 2009 report.
The ADB said in the report that weaker economic performances of Burma’s major trading partners—the People's Republic of China, India and Thailand— is “likely to put downward pressure on export prices of gas and agricultural products” that will diminish Burma’s economic growth.
“It is also likely to reduce remittances from Myanmar workers [in those countries]” the ADB noted in the report.
The ADB predicted Burma’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to slow in the fiscal years 2008 and 2009.
“The current account is expected to remain in surplus, supported by the planned inflows of foreign aid,” the ADB reported, noting that international donors are to fund a US $690 million recovery program for Cyclone Nargis survivors.
According to the ADB, although official statistics indicate growth in excess of 10 percent since 2000, nonofficial estimates put Burma’s GDP growth at less than half the official figure.
The ADB said that Burma’s dominant sector remains agriculture, contributing to 44 percent of GDP, while the industry sector, including the natural gas export segment, shares 20 percent, and the services sector contributes to 36 percent.
However, the ADB report said that in recent years, Burma’s gross international reserves have risen to an estimated $3.4 billion by raising export income from natural gas.