Economic outlook negative: UMFCCI

Myanmar’ economy is in worse shape this year compared to 2017 and 2016, according to the Business Sentiment Survey for the second quarter of 2018 conducted by the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) .

The results of survey were released during 2nd B4B Insights Forum organised by UMFCCI on August 25 and 26. Survey results for the first quarter of the year were released in May.

The Business Sentiment Survey for the second quarter polled more than 2,500 businesses in the manufacturing, services and trade sectors of Myanmar.

According to the findings for Q2, the country’s economy has slowed in the past two years and continues to weaken as 2018 progresses. The survey revealed that the economic growth is trending downwards and things are far from positive.

When asked for the reasons why economic conditions had worsened, answers predominantly included the depreciation of the kyat against the dollar, limited access to banking services such as credit facilities as well as high taxes and tariffs imposed. All of these stunt the economy’s ability to grow.

Due to higher costs of importing raw materials, the production sector is declining the fastest, followed by the services sector and the import and exports sectors, which are also witnessing a decline.

The survey results revealed that 52 percent of those who demand dollars use the currency to import raw materials used to produce everything from food to real estate. As such, the main challenge for the economy in the second quarter is mainly volatile exchange rates.

“The currency exchange rate has had a severe impact on traders and investors,” said U Zaw Min Oo, chair of UMFCCI.

Owing to the current slew of challenges faced, economic conditions are unlikely to improve by much over the next 12 months and the outlook is negative, said U Moe Kyaw, member of the Central Executive Committee of UMFCCI and the person in charge of managing the survey.


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