Myanmar’s Top 10 Exports

Myanmar Burma flag

by Wikimedia Commons

A sovereign state in Southeast Asia, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar shipped US$11.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount results from a 28.9% gain since 2013, but also signals a -4.3% drop from 2016 to 2017.

Burma is another name often used to refer to Myanmar.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, Myanmar’s exported goods plus services represent 20.6% of total Myanmarese economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

Given Myanmar’s population of 55.1 million people, its total $11.7 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $210 for every resident in that country.

From a continental perspective, Myanmar’s exported products are highly concentrated in terms of shipping destination with 92% of overall exports delivered to fellow Asian countries. Another 5.6% worth are delivered to European trade partners with a smaller 1.6% destined for North America.

Trading Economics projects Myanmar’s unemployment rate to be 4.2% 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 2017. 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 most valuable exported products are petroleum gases followed by dried leguminous vegetables, cane or beet sugar, men’s clothing then rice.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.3 billion (28.2% of total exports)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.5 billion (12.7%)
  3. Vegetables: $1.4 billion (12.2%)
  4. Sugar, sugar confectionery: $1.1 billion (9.5%)
  5. Cereals: $664.8 million (5.7%)
  6. Fish: $537.9 million (4.6%)
  7. Gems, precious metals: $425 million (3.6%)
  8. Machinery including computers: $408 million (3.5%)
  9. Oil seeds: $307.2 million (2.6%)
  10. Copper: $262.6 million (2.2%)

Myanmar’s top 10 exports accounted for well over four-fifths (84.9%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Machinery including computers was the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 1,858% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving export sales was sugar and sugar confectionery–a category that increased by 298%.

Myanmar’s exported unknitted and non-crocheted clothing and accessories posted the third-fastest gain appreciating 62.3%.

The leading decliner among the top 10 Myanma export categories was mineral fuels including oil, particularly for petroleum gases and crude oil. The other top 10 decliner was cereals via its -33.3% downturn, led by diminished international sales of rice and corn.

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 represent 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. Mineral fuels including oil: US$1.52 billion (Down by -49.1% since 2016)
  2. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $1.46 billion (Up by 67.5%)
  3. Vegetables: $1.4 billion (Up by 3.8%)
  4. Cereals: $640.1 million (Down by -34.3%)
  5. Fish: $535.8 million (Up by 11.4%)
  6. Gems, precious metals: $424.1 million (Down by -39%)
  7. Oil seeds: $298.9 million (Up by 6%)
  8. Copper: $243.6 million (Up by 16.1%)
  9. Wood: $198.6 million (Up by 19.2%)
  10. Fruits, nuts: $180 million (Up by 20.6%)

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 -$4 billion trade deficit for 2017 down by -14.6% from the -$4.7 billion in red ink during 2016.

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. Vehicles: -US$2.4 billion (Down by -6.9% since 2016)
  2. Machinery including computers: -$1.2 billion (Down by -36.9%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$914.6 million (Down by -26.6%)
  4. Iron, steel: -$739.1 million (Down by -12.6%)
  5. Articles of iron or steel: -$565.4 million (Down by -15.9%)
  6. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$551.7 million (Down by -5.5%)
  7. Plastics, plastic articles: -$551.4 million (Up by 9.1%)
  8. Manmade staple fibers: -$426.4 million (Up by 96.3%)
  9. Pharmaceuticals: -$343.9 million (Up by 18.9%)
  10. Fertilizers: -$314.8 million (Up by 31.9%)

Myanmar has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the vehicles category notably trucks, motorcycles and cars.

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 February 14, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Myanmar. Accessed on February 14, 2018

Forbes 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on February 14, 2018