In-depth country-focused analysis on Myanmar's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight


Our comprehensive assessment of Myanmar's operating environment and the outlook for its leading sectors are formed by bringing together a wealth of data on global markets that affect Myanmar, as well as the latest industry developments that could impact Myanmar's industries. This unique integrated approach has given us an impeccable track-record for predicting important shifts in the markets, ensuring you’re aware of the latest market opportunities and risks in Myanmar before your competitors.

Country Risk

Myanmar Country Risk

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The transition between the USDP-dominated former government and the NLD-dominated one has gone as well as could have possibly been expected so far, with the latter group having taken their places in Myanmar's parliament on February 1. However, significant questions still remain as to the identity of the NLD's presidential nominee, as leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains barred from the role by constitutional article 59(f). At the time of writing, Suu Kyi's chances at the role appear to be very minimal, with wide-ranging reports indicating that negotiations between the two parties on the subject have not been successful. Instead, the NLD is likely to elect a loyalist candidate who will be heavily influenced by Suu Kyi, in line with our long-held core view. Despite what may be seen as somewhat of a setback for the NLD, the party still holds a massive majority in parliament, and can legislate...

Myanmar Operational Risk Coverage (9)

Myanmar Operational Risk

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BMI View: Businesses seeking to operate in Myanmar face a variety of crime and security risks, including from organised crime, cybercrime, elevated political unrest and a legacy of ethnic conflict. While terrorist activities and violent crime is not typically targeted at foreigners, the general level of insecurity in Myanmar is high.

Myanmar's unstable political situation and the limited capacity of the government to maintain the rule of law in all regions has allowed a range of criminal activities to flourish and pose a risk to legitimate businesses. Primarily, organised crime is prevalent and undermines business activity by facilitating the proliferation of counterfeit goods and forging connections between the political elite and the criminal underworld, which exacerbate corruption. Firms in...

Myanmar Crime & Security

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BMI View: Myanmar's unstable political situation and the limited capacity of the government to maintain the rule of law in all regions has allowed a range of criminal activities to flourish and pose a risk to legitimate businesses. Primarily, organised crime is prevalent and undermines business activity by facilitating the proliferation of counterfeit goods and forging connections between the political elite and the criminal underworld, which exacerbate corruption. Firms in Myanmar are also highly exposed to cyber attacks and financial crime, against which the government offers little or no protection. The country suffers from a number of long-running ethnic conflicts, as well as religious strife and political unrest, which contribute to a climate of instability. Terrorism and militant activity is not targeted at foreigners, however, and the risk of violent crimes affecting expatriates and business property is low...

Myanmar Labour Market

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BMI View: Owing to its large and youthful population, which is comparatively cheap to employ, Myanmar offers an appealing location for businesses in labour-intensive industries, such as manufacturing. Nevertheless, we caution that the country's labour market retains many flaws, primarily stemming from poor education provision, underinvestment in healthcare and low urbanisation, all of which will increase the recruitment difficulties faced by businesses. In addition, over the longer term employment costs are likely to rise as labour regulation improves and trade unions develop greater power. Due to these considerations, Myanmar scores 50.1 out of 100 in the BMI Labour Market Risk Index, placing it in the middle...

Myanmar Logistics

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BMI View: Geographically, Myanmar is well placed to evolve into a regional hub for freighted goods in Asia. However, the poor ports infrastructure, paucity of railways, limited good-quality roads and declining air traffic pose significant risks to incoming businesses and significantly raise import and export lead times. Further risks stem from the lack of internet and telecommunications capacity in many areas. However, there are a number of advantages to operating in Myanmar if a business is involved in logistics or supply chains. In addition to vast natural resources (both mineral and agricultural), the country offers cheap utilities and good water availability, although the supply remains erratic...

Myanmar Trade & Investment

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BMI View: Myanmar performs poorly in the Trade and Investment Risk Index, despite offering significant potential for growth. An underdeveloped economy, weak banking sector, stifling bureaucracy and corruption concerns are among the challenges facing any potential investor.

Myanmar offers tremendous potential for investment as it continues its path of emergence from decades of international isolation. A large population, favourable location between major Asian markets, and wealth of natural resources offer enticing prospects for foreign investors. Nevertheless, Myanmar's underdeveloped economy has suffered from many years of international sanctions and heavy state intervention, meaning new investors must have a high risk appetite. Particular challenges include a weak banking sector, stifling bureaucracy, an absence of legal protection for foreign investors, and high levels of corruption...

Myanmar Industry Coverage (7)


Myanmar Autos

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The common theme in Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos is that used vehicles make up the overwhelming majority of their auto markets. The low GDP per capita of these economies makes it difficult for consumers to afford new cars. However, as long as carmakers maintain their expectations, we do see an area for firms to develop a toehold in these frontier markets.

Between 2015 and 2020, we forecast GDP per capita to exceed 6.0% annual growth in all these economies, aided by their young demographics. As incomes rise, new vehicle sales will inevitably increase when motorisation finally takes off, which we believe will take place when these countries achieve GDP per capita of USD3,000. Based on our forecasts, Myanmar and Laos will reach this stage in 2019 and 2021 respectively, while Cambodia will not yet have attained this by 2024. Firms which have built up their brand awareness and loyalty will then be able to reap the benefits of the motorisation boom...

Food & Drink

Myanmar Food & Drink

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BMI View: We believe that Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will offer substantial opportunities for investors as their economies grow rapidly and become more integrated with the world economy. Growing populations, growing GDP, increased urbanisation and a demographic profile favouring a young target base all offer opportunities for food and drink operators looking to establish a foothold in the region. Nonetheless, the risks of operating in the region are still high, which means that multinational companies need to be here for the long run.

Key Trends & Industry Developments

  • Food sales per capita in Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar (CLM) are still low by regional and global standards, and food...


Myanmar Infrastructure

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BMI View: We believe near-term growth in Myanmar's construction sector, while impressive, will remain below the country's full potential, owing to political risks as well as a challenging business environment. We remain more positive for the sector over the medium term and expect a more positive legal environment, improving banking system and greater support from multilateral institutions to provide a more positive investment outlook.

Forecast And Latest Updates

  • We maintain our conservative near-term outlook for Myanmar and expect the sector to grow 8.5% in 2015, while averaging 11.8% between 2016 and 2019 in real terms. This is a slight improvement from the 10.0% historical average growth rate registered between 2008-2013.

  • Growth will remain below potential owing to a still challenging business...


Myanmar Mining

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BMI View: Despite the rich deposits of untapped minerals on offer, we believe South East Asia's mining sector will struggle to fulfil its potential over the next few years. China's economic slowdown will remove a crucial outlet for raw material exports in the region and, more importantly, will impact the profitability of mining ventures, with high start up costs likely to deter new investment. While states such as Myanmar have made strides to relax the regulatory environment to encourage increased private sector investment, substantial obstacles remain across many parts of the region, including high levels of corruption and limited infrastructure. As such, many parts of the region continue to be perceived as frontier markets as far as mining activity is concerned.


SE Asia - Mining Sector Industry Values

Oil & Gas

Myanmar Oil & Gas

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BMI View: Myanmar's nascent yet growing oil and gas sector is set to be the subject of intense investor interest over the coming years, with several firms having already announced their intention to establish a foothold in the country's downstream sector. Rising demand and export obligations will entail LNG imports, though any delays and cancellations to proposed projects increase risk of a gas shortage.

Headline Forecasts (Myanmar 2014-2020)
2014 2015e 2016f

Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Myanmar Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View: High out-of-pocket payments will continue to account for the majority of health expenditure in Myanmar as we believe that coverage would be limited even if the country were to introduce universal health coverage due to lack of resources. Nevertheless, strong demand for health facilities makes Myanmar a potential market for private hospital chains.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceutical sales: MMK387.5bn (USD394mn) in 2014 to MMK458.3bn (USD385mn) in 2015; +18.3% in local currency terms and +8.0% in US dollar terms. Forecast remained broadly unchanged from Q415.

  • Healthcare Expenditure: MMK1,063.5bn (USD1.08bn) in 2014 to MMK1...


Myanmar Power

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BMI View : The Myanmar power sector is set to grow impressively over the coming decade and will be one of the fastest growing markets in the region. We also expect the country's energy mix to change over the decade and this change will create numerous opportunities.

Headline Power Forecasts (Myanmar 2015-2021)
2015e 2016f 2017f 2018f ...

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