Myanmar is expected to grow 6.8 per cent in 2017-18 compared to 5.9 per cent during the previous fiscal year.
Growth was driven by improvements in the agriculture sector, which expanded by 3.5 per cent during the year on better weather conditions and productivity. Agriculture provides about a third of the country’s GDP. The industry and service sectors also grew during the year, expanding by about eight per cent year over year due to higher demand for manufacturing and tourism-related services.
Due to efforts made by domestic tourism operators, such as promotions by hotels and tour companies, tourist arrivals, particularly from around the region, continued to rise.
However, improving rice and garment exports were not sufficient to narrow the current account deficit, now five per cent of GDP compared to 3.9 per cent last year. Imports, driven by strong domestic consumption of overseas goods and demand for capital goods to supply infrastructure projects, grew 12 per cent during the year.
The fiscal deficit has ballooned to around 3.5 per cent of GDP from 2.5 per cent before on the back of higher spending on infrastructure and social services such as education and healthcare.
Despite more robust growth and spending, inflation slowed to an estimated 5.3 per cent in 2017-18 from 6.8 per cent in the previous year, aided by a drop in food prices and a smaller volume of central bank borrowing to fund the budget.