Current forecasts predict Myanmar to be one of Asia’s few economies to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The recently-released Asian Development Outlook from the Asian Development Bank predicts the Myanmar economy to grow 4.8% this year despite the global economic downturn. Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund’s April World Economic Outlook forecasted the Myanmar economy to grow 1.8% despite the global economic downturn. Although both numbers are much lower than the 6.8% growth Myanmar enjoyed in 2019, the predictions are some of the most optimistic among Asian nations. Indeed, the IMF predicted 90% of world economies to enter recession.
In general, the ADB predicts 2.2% across Asia in 2020, with the assumption that the world’s major economic powers will be able to contain and recover from their own outbreaks before the year’s end. However, the IMF says Myanmar faces several economic challenges regardless of the pandemic. Myanmar’s upcoming election, armed conflicts and an unstable banking sector could lead to a “subdued” economy. Thus, the COVID-19 pandemic has become only one of many economic problems. “Based on policy responses to date, fiscal balances in 2020 are expected to deteriorate in almost all countries,” the IMF said in its most recent Fiscal Monitor. “The size of the impact of COVID-19 on public finances is highly uncertain at this time and will depend not only on the duration of the pandemic but also on whether the economic recovery is swift or the crisis casts a long shadow.”
This week, the government unveiled a multi-billion dollar economic relief plan designed to mitigate the economic damage of COVID-19 and lay the foundation for recovery (see related article).