Myanmar's Trade Deficit Rises as Economy Opens Up

A file photo showing a man carrying a rice bag as a cargo ship loads containers in the background on the Yangon river, 27 September 2012 [DPA].

YANGON (DPA) — Myanmar's quarterly trade deficit reached over 1.4 billion dollars, as the economy continues to open up to foreign investment, the government said Wednesday.

The value of exports – including oil, gas and timber – during April-June was more than 2.2 billion dollars, but 3.6 billion dollars was spent on imports, the Central Statistical Organization said.

"Due to the decrease in exports of timber, fisheries and mineral products, Myanmar is likely to suffer a trade deficit for the whole year," said Maung Maung Lay, vice chairman of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The deficit grew by 1 billion dollars compared to the same period last year, according to government data.

The country's main exports are agricultural and farm products, minerals, timber, industrial products and oil and gas. It relies heavily on imported machinery, consumer products, commodities and raw materials.