Myanmar to promote agri-exports posts COVID-19

Myanmar will raise efforts to add value to the domestic agriculture industry by promoting exports post COVID-19, said U Khin Maung Lwin, assistant secretary for the Ministry of Commerce. They will take action to promote their best crops internationally, including rice, corn and beans after the pandemic, adding that similar efforts will be made to promote Myanmar fisheries and livestock, as “these areas have good export potential.” Despite the pandemic, agriculture and maritime exports have increased in the current fiscal year so far, compared to the same period in fiscal 2019-2020. For example, Myanmar has so far exported about 2.2 million tonnes of corn to Thailand, which pigeon peas are being sold to India.

The country will also focus on promoting the export of new crops such as coffee and is already making efforts to penetrate new markets. According to the Myanmar Coffee Association, Myanmar will expand its local highland coffee exports through Singapore. They are connecting with new markets in the region through Singapore. The association last month participated in the Singapore Specialty Coffee Online Auction 2020, which provides a platform for global coffee bean producers to promote and introduce their beans to an Asian market, using Singapore as a hub. Myanmar’s coffee garnered international interest during the auction, despite the lack of buyers due to COVID-19. A local coffee entrepreneur demand for Myanmar-produced coffee should rise due to its superior quality. Then, their coffee production rate and sales will gradually get broader.

Raising exports will also help the country further narrow the trade deficit. In fiscal 2019-20, total trade between Myanmar and foreign countries amounted to US$36.6 billion. Between October 1, 2019 and September 30, Myanmar exports totaled over US$17.6 billion while imports reached over US$19 billion. As a result, the country recorded a trade deficit of US$1.3 billion, up from over US$ 1 billion in fiscal 2018-19. Myanmar needs to make preparations and arrangements to increase trade volumes as it might face setbacks due to COVID-19 in fiscal 2020-21. The NLD government has already moved key trade administrative functions, such as applying for import and export licenses, online. Myanmar can further increase exports by producing value-added products which are competitive in price and quality.

Source: Myanmar Times


The average inflation rate was 5.81%, and the inflation rate fell for seven consecutive months

The average inflation rate in September 2020 was 5.81 percent, and inflation has been declining for seven consecutive months since March 2020, according to the Consumer Price and Inflation Index released by the Central Statistics Office. The average inflation rate rose for 18 consecutive months from April 2018 to September 2019. It fell slightly in October and November 2019, and in December 2019. As of September 2020, the average annual rate of inflation is 5.81 percent, and the average annual rate of inflation-core inflation, excluding food and fuel prices, is 11.23 percent. The annual on-year inflation rate is 2.03 percent, and the calculated annual year-on-year inflation rate excluding food and fuel prices is 4.74 percent. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Myanmar in March 2020, declining household consumption and falling fuel prices pushed year-on-year inflation from March 2020 to 2.03 percent in September.

For the country as a whole, the average inflation rate, based on consumer prices in the 2012 base year, averaged 5.81 percent year-on-year through September 2020, down 0.62 percent from 6.43 percent a year on-August 2020. The average inflation rate from October 2019 to September 2020 rose from 8.61 percent in September 2019 to a record high of 9.20 percent in February 2020. However, in September 2020, due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic in Myanmar, public consumption declined and consumer price growth slowed. In September 2020, the average inflation rate in Ayeyarwady Region was the first highest at 10.83%. Mandalay is the second highest with 9.54%. It was the third highest in the Union Territory with 7.48%.

Annual inflation was the highest change rate in the Union Territory at 5.53% and the lowest in Mon State at 2.80%. Inflation is the long-term increase in general prices, which means that the prices of basic commodities continue to rise. For a period of time, when the general price of goods and services in the business environment rises, the same unit of currency can be purchased, but less goods and services can be purchased. In other words, inflation affects the purchasing power of money. It depreciates the value of a currency unit. The measure of inflation is called the Inflation Rate, which refers to the annual percentage change in a general price index, called the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Source: Daily Eleven


Myanmar goods trade deficit with Singapore estimated at $10.7 bln in 4 years

MYANMAR trade deficit in goods with Singapore was estimated at US$10.72 billion in the past four years, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with Singapore topped $15.46 billion between the FY2016-2017 and the FY2019- 2020 (as of August). The CSO reported that imports surpassed exports in trade with Singapore in the past four years, with exports reaching over $2.37 billion and imports valued at over $13.09 billion.

Singapore is Myanmar’s second-largest trading partner in the region, after Thailand. It accounted for 10.56 pc of total trade in FY2016-2017 with an estimated trade value of $3.4 billion, 11.59 pc in FY2017-2018 with a trade value of $4.15 billion, 9.98 pc in the FY2018-2019 with $3.5 billion and 12.76 pc in the FY2019-2020 (Oct-August) with $3.64 billion respectively. Myanmar exports agricultural products such as broken rice, pulses, sesame seeds, onion, footwear, textiles and clothing, minerals, and other products to Singapore.

At the same time, it imports plastic, fuel oil, edible oil, transport equipment, chemical elements and compounds, wheat flour, pharmaceutical products, dairy product and consumer products. Next, Singapore is the top source of foreign direct investments into Myanmar in the incumbent government period, bringing in the capital of $10.9 billion by 124 Singapore-listed enterprises, according to data released by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). Singapore companies put investments into urban development, real estate, power and manufacturing sectors.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar