Myanmar’s Top 10 Exports

Myanmar Burma flag

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A sovereign state in Southeast Asia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar shipped US$11.5 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. That dollar amounts results from a 51% gain since 2010 one year after the Great Recession kicked in, but down by -13.4% from 2015 to 2016.

Burma is another name often used to refer to Myanmar.

Myanmar’s top 10 exports accounted for over four-fifths (81.5%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Based on statistics from the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database, Myanmar’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $334.9 billion as of April 2017 (on a purchasing power parity basis). Therefore, exports represent an estimated 3.4% of total Myanma economic output.

Given Myanmar’s population of 56.9 million people, its total $11.5 billion in 2016 exports translates to roughly $200 for every resident in that country.

Trading Economics projects Myanmar’s unemployment rate to be 4% as of April 2017.

Myanmar’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value global shipments from Myanmar during 2016. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Myanmar. At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Myanmar’s number one exported product is petroleum gases followed by dried leguminous vegetables then cane or beet sugar.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.4 billion (29.3% of total exports)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.6 billion (14.3%)
  3. Vegetables: $1.1 billion (9.2%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $945.2 million (8.2%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $595 million (5.2%)
  6. Wood: $493.5 million (4.3%)
  7. Fish: $369.9 million (3.2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $354.5 million (3.1%)
  9. Copper: $271 million (2.4%)
  10. Footwear: $239.4 million (2.1%)

Knit or crochet clothing, accessories was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 12,141% for the 7-year period starting in 2010.

In second place for improving export sales was ores, slag and ash which was up by 8,987% led by tin ores and concentrates.

Myanmar’s exported copper posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 415%.

Two leading decliners among the top 10 Myanma export categories were gems and precious metals (down by -81.1%) and wood (down -18.7%).

Advantages

The following types of Myanma product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): US$1.6 billion (Up by 379.1% since 2010)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $1.3 billion (Down by -36.5%)
  3. Vegetables: $1 billion (Up by 16.3%)
  4. Ores, slag, ash: $944.8 million (Up by 8,992%)
  5. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $515.6 million (Up by 11,188%)
  6. Wood: $450.7 million (Down by -25.5%)
  7. Fish: $360 million (Up by 13.2%)
  8. Gems, precious metals: $259.8 million (Down by -86.1%)
  9. Copper: $244.5 million (Up by 398.6%)
  10. Footwear: $129.1 million (Up by 180.4%)

Myanmar has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing and accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate Myanmar’s strong competitive advantages particularly under the clothing and accessories (not knit or crochet) product category.

Opportunities

Overall, Myanmar incurred a -$9.7 billion trade deficit for 2016 reversing a $3.5 billion surplus during 2010.

Below are exports from Myanmar that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Myanmar’s goods trail Myanma importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: -US$2.3 billion (Up by 869.5% since 2010)
  2. Vehicles : -$2.1 billion (Up by 1,154%)
  3. Machinery including computers: -$2.1 billion (Up by 293.9%)
  4. Sugar, sugar confectionery: -$988.4 million (Down by -165,376%)
  5. Articles of iron or steel: -$771.3 million (Up by 166.5%)
  6. Iron, steel: -$760.4 million (Up by 243.5%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: -$730.7 million (Up by 242.4%)
  8. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$578.3 million (Up by 231.3%)
  9. Beverages, spirits, vinegar: -$427 million (Up by 67,034%)
  10. Pharmaceuticals: -$417.6 million (Up by 155.7%)

Myanmar has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the electrical machinery and equipment category.

Companies

Myanma Export Companies

Not one Myanma corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000 for 2016.

Wikipedia lists exports-related companies from Myanmar. Selected examples are shown below:

  • Aeon Display and Security System (display and security systems)
  • Asia World (conglomerate including imports/exports)
  • Htoo Group of Companies (holding firm including wood exports)
  • Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise (oil, gas)
  • Myanmar Distribution Group (consumer goods)
  • Myint & Associates (industrial transportation)
  • Red Link Communications (telecommunications)
  • Shan Star (automobiles)

Myanmar’s capital city is Nay Pyi Taw.

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level.

See also Thailand’s Top 10 Exports, Top Asian Export Countries and Capital Facts for Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 1, 2017

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 1, 2017

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on May 1, 2017

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 1, 2017

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Myanmar. Accessed on May 1, 2017

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 1, 2017