Year over year, the value of Myanmar’s exported products dropped by -10.5% from $16.9 billion in 2020.
Note that Burma is another name often used to refer to Myanmar.
The top 5 most valuable exports from Myanmar are petroleum gases, dried shelled vegetables, unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits or trousers, rice and corn. Added together, Myanmar’s 5 major exports accounted for 43% of the country’s overall shipments by value.
Main Customers for Myanmar’s Exported Products
The latest available country-specific data shows that 84.9% of products exported from Myanmar were bought by importers in: mainland China (29.5% of the global total), Thailand (23.1%), Japan (6%), India (5.7%), United States of America (3.9%), Germany (3%), Spain (2.8%), United Kingdom (2.6%), Netherlands (2.5%), Malaysia (2.01%), South Korea (1.95%) and Poland (1.8%).
From a continental perspective, 76.6% of Myanmar’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 18.2% were sold to importers in Europe. Myanmar shipped another 4.3% worth of goods to North America.
Tinler percentages went to Africa (0.5%), Oceania (0.2%) led by Australia then Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Myanmar’s population in 2021 was 53.6 million people, resulting in an average $285 in exported goods per resident. That dollar metric falls below the average $320 per capita one year earlier during 2020.
Myanmar’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value global shipments from Myanmar during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Myanmar.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$3.2 billion (21.2% of total exports)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.5 billion (16.5%)
- Vegetables: $1.47 billion (9.7%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $1.39 billion (9.2%)
- Cereals: $1.29 billion (8.5%)
- Fish: $730.6 million (4.8%)
- Oil seeds: $544.3 million (3.6%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $466.3 million (3.1%)
- Fruits, nuts: $452.1 million (3%)
- Footwear: $382.3 million (2.5%)
Myanmar’s top 10 exports accounted for 82% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Rubber including rubber articles represents the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 39.7% from 2020 to 2021.
In second place for improving export sales was knitted or crocheted clothing and accessories via a 19.7% advance.
Myanmar’s shipments of vegetables posted the third-fastest expansion in value up by 17.4%.
The leading decliner among Myanmar’s top 10 export categories was fruits and nuts, thanks to a -27.6% year-over-year drop.
From the more granular four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, petroleum gases represent Myanmar’s most valuable exported product accounting for 20.8% of the country’s total. In second place were dried shelled vegetables (9.1%) trailed by unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits or trousers (4.6%), rice (4.4%), corn (4.1%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s clothing (2.7%), oil seeds (2.4%), unknitted and non-crocheted women’s coats and jackets (2.3%), knitted or crocheted jerseys and pullovers (2.3%) then refined copper and unwrought alloys (2%).
Products Generating Myanmar’s Largest Trade Surpluses
Myanmar generated an overall $822.8 million trade surpluses for 2021, reversing -$1.03 billion in red ink in 2020.
The following types of Burmese 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.
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): US$2.5 billion (Down by -27% since 2020)
- Vegetables: $1.5 billion (Up by 17.5%)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $1.4 billion (Up by 20.6%)
- Cereals: $1.1 billion (Up by 11.5%)
- Fish: $725.6 million (Down by -11%)
- Oil seeds: $523.7 million (Up by 0.4%)
- Fruits, nuts: $424.8 million (Down by -25.9%)
- Rubber, rubber articles: $374.8 million (Up by 85.7%)
- Footwear: $328.1 million (Down by -20%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $304.1 million (Down by -55.4%)
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 clothing and accessories product categories–and notably unknitted or non-crocheted goods.
Products Causing Myanmar’s Worst Trade Deficits
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 Burmese importer spending on foreign products.
- Machinery including computers: -US$1.1 billion (Down by -2.7% since 2020)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$917.8 million (Up by 30.6%)
- Manmade staple fibers: -$682.8 million (Down by -6.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$570.8 million (Down by -21.3%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$558.2 million (Down by -68.2%)
- Pharmaceuticals: -$533.3 million (Down by -9.9%)
- Vehicles: -$528.3 million (Down by -55%)
- Miscellaneous food preparations: -$423.8 million (Up by 14.3%)
- Fertilizers: -$388.9 million (Down by -0.6%)
- Food industry waste, animal fodder: -$328.6 million (Down by -3.4%)
Myanmar has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits under the machinery including computers category.
Myanma Export Companies
Not one Myanma corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000.
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)
In macroeconomic terms, Myanmar’s total exported goods represent 6.5% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2021 ($238.3 billion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 6.4% for exports to overall GDP in PPP for 2021 compares to 6.5% for 2020. Those percentages suggest a relatively decreasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Myanmar’s total economic performance, albeit based on a short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Myanmar’s average unemployment rate was 1.79% at the end of 2020, up from an average 0.7% for 2019 according to Trading Economics.
Myanmar’s capital city is Nay Pyi Taw.
See also Myanmar’s Top 10 Imports, Thailand’s Top Trading Partners, Japan’s Top Trading Partners, India’s Top Trading Partners, Malaysia’s Top Trading Partners and Poland’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook East Asia/Southeast Asia: Burma. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Forbes 2021 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on July 18, 2022
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity)
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Myanmar. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Wikipedia, Myanmar. Accessed on July 18, 2022
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on July 18, 2022