Myanmar Economic Monitor, July 2021: Progress Threatened; Resilience Tested

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In February 2021 the military assumed power in Myanmar, setting back the country’s democratic transition, and immediately impacting an economy that had already been weakened by Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). While the initial economic impacts of the coup were extremely severe, in May and June there were early signs that constraints were easing in some areas. Mobility at retail and transport venues improved after the Thingyan holiday in April, and there were reports that factory workers, bank staff, and some public servants had returned to work. Several international apparel buyers resumed placing new orders with garment manufacturers, and logistics bottlenecks eased. Amid substantial uncertainty around the magnitude and duration of recent economic shocks, there are large risks associated with these projections. Relatively severe economic impacts already appear to have persisted for longer than what was assumed even in March, when the authors projected a 10 percent contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) in FY21. The third wave of COVID-19 will have substantial additional economic impacts in the September quarter, although the magnitude of these impacts will depend on how the outbreak evolves. Since February the environment for doing business has worsened considerably, impacting productivity across the economy as scarce resources are allocated toward dealing with supply-side constraints. Lost months of education at school and university are of critical concern, including because of the longer-term implications for the accumulation of human capital and productive capacity. With these fundamental drivers of long-term growth at risk, there are already early signs of increased dependence on extractive and or illicit activities, and a return to the inward-looking policies that have characterized much of Myanmar’s history.
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World Bank. 2021. Myanmar Economic Monitor, July 2021: Progress Threatened; Resilience Tested. © World Bank, Myanmar. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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