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Myanmar jade report hits foreign and local companies, economic data

MANDALAY, Myanmar -- A report into Myanmar's lucrative jade trade has thrown new light on the industry's vast size, with previously unpublished data that indicates the country's total revenue from the precious stone amounted to at least $31 billion last year -- equivalent to nearly half the country's 2014 gross domestic product and nearly three times earlier estimates.

     The findings -- including charges that senior government, military and business figures are heavily involved in an industry known for corruption and secrecy -- could put pressure on the government ahead of the country's Nov. 8 election, as well as on local and Western companies accused of links to the jade trade. More fundamentally, the staggering figure has implications for economic management and vital indicators in a country struggling with flawed statistics, exchange rate mechanisms and rapidly rising inflation.

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