Myanmar’s economy is set to grow an estimated 6.8 percent next year in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, placing it among Southeast Asia ’s fastest growing economies, although rising inflation threatens the poor.

According to a recently-launched World Bank (WB) report, expansion will be driven by energy and commodities exports, foreign investment, services and construction, and growth will exceed the 6.5 percent achieved in the fiscal year that ended on March 31.

Despite abundant resources and a population of about 60 million, Myanmar’s economy is one Asia’s smallest and least developed, hurt by fiscal mismanagement and Western sanctions, most of which have now been suspended.

The country’s new government, which took office in March 2011, has focused on attracting foreign investment, creating jobs and boosting infrastructure.

Foreign direct investment in Myanmar rose to 2.7 billion USD in 2012-13 from 1.9 billion USD in 2011-12, the WB said in its first report since resuming operations in the country in January.

Most of that investment went into the country’s energy, garment, information technology and food and beverages sectors, it added.

Myanmar ’s investment commission said that 54 million USD of foreign investment flowed to the country in September, mostly destined for the manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and hotels and tourism sectors that are expected to drive future growth.

However, the WB said it is most concerned about inflation, which rose to 7.3 percent in August, fueled by higher costs for housing and food, particularly rice.

Inflation needs to be kept under control to minimise its impacts on people’s lives, the bank said.-VNA