From a continental perspective, 91.6% of Myanmar’s imports by total cost based on 2018 data were purchased from fellow Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 4.8% of imports purchased by Myanmar while 1.9% worth of goods originated from North America. Smaller percentages came from exporters in Oceania (0.9%) led by Australia and New Zealand, Latin America (0.6%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (0.1%).
Given Myanmar’s population of 54 million people, its total $25.1 billion in 2019 imports translates to roughly $460 in yearly product demand from every person living in the Southeast Asian nation also known as Burma.
Myanmar’s Top 10 Imports
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Myanmar’s import purchases during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Myanmar.
- Mineral fuels including oil: US$3 billion (12.5% of total imports)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $2.6 billion (10.7%)
- Machinery including computers: $2.3 billion (9.5%)
- Vehicles: $1.5 billion (6.2%)
- Iron, steel: $1.2 billion (4.9%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $857.1 million (3.5%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $675 million (2.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $625.2 million (2.6%)
- Manmade filaments: $583 million (2.4%)
- Knit or crochet fabric: $551.4 million (2.3%)
Myanmar’s top 10 imports accounted for over half (57.4%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported knitted or crocheted fabric posted the fastest-growing increase in cost among Myanmar’s top 10 import categories, up 1,031% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving import purchases were manmade filaments, which expanded 287.4%. Burmese imports of electrical machinery and equipment delivered the third-fastest gain up 103.9%.
Internationally sourced manmade staple fibers represent the laggard among the top 10 Burmese imports, dropping -20.8% year over year.
Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Myanmar’s costliest imported products include refined petroleum oils (11.7% of total) followed by mobile phones (4.4%), synthetic yarn woven fabrics (2.6%), medication mixes in dosage (1.7%), non-warp mixed fabrics (also 1.7%), motorcycles (1.5%), miscellaneous food preparations (1.1%) and cars (also 1.1%).
In 2019, Burmese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related goods.
- Processed petroleum oils: US$2.9 billion (down -24.1% from 2018)
- Crude oil: $114.5 million (up 1,040,555%)
- Electrical energy: $52.9 million (up 283.3%)
- Petroleum gases: $27.2 million (down -8.6%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $22 million (up 6%)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $16.4 million (down -66.5%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $13.5 million (down -47%)
- Coke, semi-coke: $10.9 million (up 211.5%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $1.8 million (down -33.3%)
- Lignite: $788,000 (no 2018 data
Among these import subcategories, Burmese purchases of crude oil (up 1,040,555%), electrical energy (up 283.3%) then coke or semi-coke (up 211.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported mineral fuels including oil among businesses and consumers in Myanmar.
In 2019, Burmese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical items including consumer electronics.
- Phone system devices including smartphones: US$1.1 billion (up 224.4% from 2018)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $182.2 million (up 250%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $174.9 million (up 31.5%)
- Electric storage batteries: $113.1 million (up 112.5%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $106.3 million (up 111.8%)
- Electrical converters/power units: $104.6 million (up 14.5%)
- Electric motors, generators: $79.9 million (up 25%)
- Electrical machinery: $78.8 million (up 350.6%)
- Electric water heaters, hair dryers: $69 million (up 38.2%)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $67.5 million (up 79.1%)
Among these import subcategories, Burmese purchases of electrical machinery (up 350.6%), electric generating sets or converters (up 250%) then phone system devices including smartphones (up 224.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among businesses and consumers in Myanmar.
In 2019, Burmese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery.
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): US$181.7 million (down -12.1% from 2018)
- Miscellaneous machinery: $128.2 million (up 320.1%)
- Machinery parts: $104.2 million (down -13.2%)
- Air conditioners: $102.6 million (up 55.6%)
- Computers, optical readers: $97.9 million (up 60.2%)
- Liquid pumps and elevators: $96.4 million (up 122.2%)
- Air or vacuum pumps: $92.1 million (up 132%)
- Piston engine parts: $80.4 million (up 421.3%)
- Harvest/threshing machinery: $79.8 million (down -3.5%)
- Sewing machines, related furniture: $78.2 million (up 42.9%)
Among these import subcategories, Burmese purchases of piston engine parts (up 421.3%), miscellaneous machinery (up 320.1%) then air or vacuum pumps (up 132%) grew at the fastest pace from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery including computers among businesses and consumers in Myanmar.
In 2019, Burmese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles.
- Motorcycles: US$377.7 million (down -0.01% from 2018)
- Cars: $283 million (up 23.1%)
- Trucks: $202.3 million (down -39.4%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $153 million (down -1%)
- Tractors: $90.2 million (down -27.6%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $73.1 million (down -16.3%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $55 million (up 114.9%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $29.9 million (down -60.4%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $27.3 million (up 96.5%)
- Trailers: $17 million (down -29.6%)
Among these import subcategories, Burmese purchases of motorcycle parts or accessories (up 114.9%), bicycles and other non-motorized cycles (up 96.5%) and cars (up 23.1%) grew from 2018 to 2019.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported vehicles among businesses and consumers in Myanmar.
See also Myanmar’s Top 10 Exports, China’s Top Trading Partners and Top Asian Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook East Asia/Southeast Asia: Burma. Accessed on June 1, 2020
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on June 1, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 1, 2020
Wikipedia, Myanmar. Accessed on June 1, 2020