Tue 31 Mar 2009
Filed under: Business / Trade,News
Myanmar’s prime minister Tuesday said the military-ruled country recorded a trade surplus of 2.5 billion dollars over the past fiscal year in spite of the global economic crisis.
Speaking to businessmen in the remote administrative capital of Naypyidaw in central Myanmar, Thein Sein said trade was significantly up despite the global downturn and a cyclone sweeping the country last year.
“We can see that the trade surplus has increased to 2.5 billion dollars on foreign trade worth more than 10 billion dollars (since last April). It was higher than last year,” Thein Sein said.
Myanmar’s fiscal year runs from April 1 to the end of March.
“Although we have many difficulties, we have seen a four percent increase in trade,” he said, adding that total trade was worth 9.8 billion dollars for the previous 2007-08 fiscal year.
The prime minister said Myanmar’s exports had grown by more than six million dollars on last year, while imports had increased by more than 465 million dollars, but declined to give exact figures.
Thein Sein also said average income in the Southeast Asian nation had increased to 498,000 kyats (489 dollars) in the 2008-09 fiscal year from 405,817 kyats (405 dollars) across the previous year.
Myanmar is among the world’s least developed countries, lagging behind wealthier neighbors like China, India and Thailand. Cyclone Nargis devastated the south of the country last May, leaving 138,000 people dead or missing.
Many of its exports are raw materials like natural gas, teak wood, or gemstones sold to neighbouring countries which eschew the sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western nations.
The current junta seized power after crushing a pro-democracy uprising in 1988, ending a socialist dictatorship and slowly opening up the economy.