(EnergyAsia, May 28 2013, Tuesday) — A combination of reforms and rising natural gas production is attracting investors and blowing life into Myanmar’s previously stagnant economy, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

For the current financial year to March 2014, the agency expects Southeast Asia’s latest emerging economy to grow by 6.75% to follow on last year’s 6.5% expansion.

In praising the government for undertaking economic reforms, the IMF provided other positives, predicting inflation to stay at around 5.5% and international reserves to continue rising as foreign direct investment inflows outweigh a widening current account deficit.

“The authorities’ ambitious reform programme is bearing fruit, with macroeconomic stability and high investor interest,” said Matt Davies, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Myanmar after a 15-day visit to the country.

“Budget policy has managed to balance the twin goals of addressing Myanmar’s large development needs and maintaining macroeconomic stability.”

Mr Davies warned that the country faces risks from its limited macroeconomic management capacity to deal with the rapid, broad-based economic transition currently underway.

Mr Davies’ team met with Finance Minister U Win Shein, Deputy Minister U Maung Maung Thein, Central Bank Governor U Than Nyein along with representatives from think tanks, private sector and donor community.

Myanmar has begun to increase the speed of its political and economic reforms after the military regime, which had ruled with an iron fist for decades, handed power over to civilian rule in 2011.