March 26 (Reuters) - Myanmar’s economy is expected to contract by 10 per cent this year, World Bank forecasts released on Friday show, as the Southeast Asian nation is convulsed by nationwide protests, strikes and sanctions following a military coup on Feb. 1.
The forecast is a sharp reversal from the World Bank’s previous economic update in October, when it predicted Myanmar’s economy would grow by 5.9 per cent, one of the strongest rates of expansion in the region.
Myanmar “has been heavily affected by protests, worker strikes, and military actions; reductions in mobility; and the ongoing disruption of critical public services in addition to banking, logistics, and internet services”, the World Bank said. Protesters in Myanmar have targeted the economy as part of their civil disobedience campaign, crippling the banking system and encouraging foreign investors to pull out until the democratically elected government is restored.
Meanwhile, the junta has regularly shut down the internet in an effort to quell protests, further undermining economic activity. (Reporting by Tom Allard Editing by Ed Davies)
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