Slowdown Strains Myanmar Economy

Myanmar's financial system and economy are largely cut off from the outside world -- but not the global economic crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported. As the country's military junta wraps up its trial of dissident Aung San Suu Kyi, conditions in the capital and rural areas illustrate the effects of the slowdown on this isolated nation's already-tenuous economy. Key sectors such as agriculture and tourism are reeling, and business in the commercial center of Yangon has dwindled, residents and economists say. Credit has dried up, remittance income is falling as thousands of workers returning from abroad are discovering that jobs are scarce. Myanmar's economy has long suffered from high unemployment, minimal foreign investment and crumbling infrastructure. With few successful domestic industries, the country relies heavily on sales of natural gas, timber and other commodities to the few countries that continue to do significant business with the regime, notably China, Thailand and India. Read more. (Subscription required.)