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Agro exports rise despite drops in other export groups

THE agricultural exports unexpectedly surge over the past five and a half months amid the private banks’ closure and reductions in other export groups. The agricultural exports have topped US$2.6 billion as of 12 March 2021 in the current financial year since 1 October 2020. The figures reflect a significant rise of $774 million this FY. According to the trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce, the ago exports soared from $1.83 billion in the corresponding period of the 2019-2020FY. Myanmar’s agricultural exports rose regardless of the coronavirus’s impact on foreign
demand for other export groups and political instability. At present, some ocean liners suspended cargo transport from Myanmar in recent days. The cargo transport will double or triple if we conduct the trade with small ships.

It could harm the export sector somehow, according to Myanmar Mercantile Marine Development Association. However, Myanmar’s border trade with China is steadily conducted. Around 1,000 trucks are daily seen flowing in and out of the Muse, a central cross-border post between Myanmar and China, the traders said. Myanmar is daily shipping rice, broken rice, green grams, peanuts, various pulses and beans, onion, chilli, fishery products, consumer goods, watermelon and muskmelon to China with over 700 trucks. Meanwhile, building materials, electric appliances, medical devices, consumer goods, and fertilizer are imported daily with 200 trucks. Private banks’ closure forced the traders to turn to the operators running ‘hundi’, an informal money transfer system, to make transactions in the border trade. In the exports sector, the agriculture industry performed the best, accounting for over 22 per cent of overall exports.

The agricultural industry’s chief export items are rice and broken rice, pulses and beans, and maize. Fruits and vegetables, sesame, dried tea leaves, sugar, and other agro products are also shipped to other countries. Myanmar agro products are primarily exported to China, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka. Sometimes, the export market remains uncertain due to unsteady global demand. The country requires specific export plans for each agro product. They are currently exported to external markets based upon supply and demand. Contract farming systems, regional and state agriculture departments, exporters, traders, and some grower groups are required to meet production targets, said an official from the Agriculture Department. The Commerce Ministry is working to help farmers deal with challenges such as high input costs, procurement of pedigree seeds, high cultivation costs, and erratic weather conditions.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Manufacturing exports shrink to $3.13 bln as of 12 March

Exports of finished industrial goods drastically plummeted to US$3.137 billion between 1 October and 12 March in the current financial year 2020-2021, a severe drop of $1.66 billion compared with the corresponding period of the previous FY, according to the Ministry of Commerce. As per the ministry figures, the exports of finished industrial goods totalled $4.79 billion during the same period in the 2019-2020FY. Myanmar’s manufacturing sector is primarily concentrated in garment and textiles produced on the Cutting, Making, and Packaging basis, contributing to its GDP to a certain extent.

Myanmar’s garment export dropped by over 25 per cent as of the first quarter of the current FY compared with a year-ago period on the back of a slump in demand by the European Union market, the Ministry of Commerce stated. Myanmar’s garment industry has been facing challenges such as raw material supply disruption and orders’ cancellation amid the pandemic. Additionally, the current political changes dragged down the sector, a market observer shared his opinion. At present, the CMP garment factories temporarily shut down and left thousands of workers unemployed. Myanmar mainly exports CMP garments to markets in Japan and Europe, along with the Republic of Korea, China, and the US.

The garment sector is among the prioritized sectors driving up exports. The CMP garment industry has emerged as a promising one, with preferential trade from Western countries. Yet, the country’s current political changes are likely to aggravate the garment industry, traders stressed. Myanmar’s garment factories operate under the CMP system, and those engaged in this
industry are striving to transform CMP into the free-on-board (FoB) system. As the factories cannot enter into a contract for FoB, Own Design Manufacturing (ODM) and Own Business Manufacturing (OBM), the income is limited, according to the MGMA.

According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, exports of garments manufactured under the cut-make-pack (CMP) system were valued at US$4.798 billion in the last financial year 2019-2020. Although the sector is struggling due to the cancellation of order from the European countries and suspension of Western countries’ trade during the pandemic, export values rose in the previous FY (1 October 2019 30 September 2020). The export value of CMP garments was only $850 million in the 2015-2016 FY, but it has tripled over the past two FYs. In the 2016-2017FY, about $2 billion was earned from exports of CMP garments.

The figure increased to an estimated $2.5 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $2.2 billion in the 2018 mini-budget period (from April to September). It tremendously grew to $4.6 billion in the 2018-2019FY, according to the Commerce Ministry. Since an outbreak like COVID-19 might happen in the future, it is necessary to prepare for a sufficient raw materials supply. That’s being so, the public and private sectors will cooperate in setting up the supply chain on our own sources, including weaving, knitting, dyeing, and sewing factories. The MGMA has more than 500 members and garment factories in Myanmar, employing more than 400,000 workers. Investors prefer to invest in countries with inexpensive labour, such as Myanmar.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Sino-Myanmar border trade rises by $218.85 mln: MOC reports

SINO-MYANMAR border trade has registered a rise of US$218.85 million between 1 October and 12 March in the current financial year 2020-2021 amid the political changes, according to the Ministry of Commerce. As of 12 March 2021, Myanmar’s exports to China through the land border were valued at $2.05 billion, while imports are worth $920.49 million. The value of Sino-Myanmar border trade in all five border posts touched over $2.97 billion in the current FY, which significantly soared from over $2.66 billion recorded in the year-ago period, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated.
The increase in trade is attributed to the extending trading hours at Muse Man Wein and Kyinsankyawt checkpoints.

Furthermore, Pan Hseng (Kyukok) and Wan Ding border posts also gave the green light to fruit trucks under the driver substitution system. This FY, border trade values totalled $2.34 billion through Muse border, $129.9 million via Lweje, $292.8 million via Chinshwehaw, $208 million via Kampaiti, and over $5.227 million via Kengtung. The Commerce Ministry’s data showed a rise in trade value through all those border posts. Muse is an important border in Myanmar and handles an enormous volume of trade. But at times, it has experienced a sharp drop in business on account of China clamping down on illegal goods, resulting in a halt in the trade of agricultural products. Moreover, the COVID-19 impacts slow the trade last year.

In a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus on the border, China banned border crossing. Shortly after that, about 50 drivers are allowed to pass the border under the driver substitution system. Those drivers are, however, tested every three days. As a result, China included them in the vaccination programme, covering more than 40 Myanmar truck drivers, said vice-chair of Muse rice wholesale centre. In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant departments and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with China counterparts.

The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. Myanmar’s MOC is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro products, fruits and fisheries to China through negotiations. Around 1,000 trucks are daily seen flowing in and out of the Muse, a central cross-border post between Myanmar and China, U Min Thein said. Myanmar is daily shipping rice, broken rice, green grams, peanuts, various pulses and beans, onion, chilli, fishery products, consumer goods, watermelon and muskmelon to China with over 700 trucks. Meanwhile, building materials, electric appliances, medical devices, consumer goods, and fertilizer are imported daily with 200 trucks. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through the Muse-Ruili border.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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All domestic passengers will no longer need the COVID-19 test but will have to comply with other health standards

According to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Sports, all domestic passengers will no longer need the COVID-19 test and will have to comply with other health standards. According to the statement, passengers on domestic flights can apply for tickets at local ticket offices or at local ticket offices. You will be able to purchase regular flights without having to endorse online or in accordance with the health standards. Passengers may be exposed to suspected COVID-19 fever.

Whooping cough, sudden loss of odor, only those who are free of all symptoms and conditions, such as contact with an infected person within two weeks, will be allowed to go on a scheduled trip. Passengers are required to abide by local orders when the aircraft arrives in their respective cities. The COVID-19 medical check-up for passengers on rescue trips and domestic flights of state-owned Myanmar National Airlines (MNA) and International Myanmar Airlines (MAI) will be available at Yangon Airport Cargo Warehouse and N Health Laboratory, according to the airline.

Rescue flights operated by Myanmar National Airlines such as Bangkok. The COVID-19 medical examination for passengers on Singapore and domestic flights will start on 10 February in Yangon, Myanmar, near Sule Pagoda N Health Laboratory and Yangon International Airport; Inspections will be held at Cargo Warehouse on Pyay Road from 9 am to 11 am. For international passengers on domestic and international rescue flights of Myanmar International Airlines MAI and Air KBZ, Airport Cargo Warehouse on Pyay Road will be opened from 10 February. The RDT test for domestic trips will be available at N Health Laboratory and Tourist Burma Building.

Source: Daily Eleven

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State-owned Myanmar National Airlines and Air KBZ resume domestic flights from March 23

State-owned Myanmar National Airlines and Air KBZ will resume domestic flights from March 23. Starting from March 23, Myanmar National Airlines will fly to Mandalay, Sittwe, Thandwe, Kyaukphyu to Ann cities and also Myeik, Dawei, Nay Pyi Taw. It has flown flights to cities such as Myitkyina and announced flights on its Facebook page until March 31. Air KBZ Airlines announced Heho, Myitkyina, Dawei, Myeik, Lashio Flights to domestic cities including Sittwe and Thandwe will start on March 26, according to a statement from the airline. Air KBZ has announced flights from March 26 to March 31. The Yangon-Mandalay-Heho flight will be operated daily from March 26, according to a statement from the airline.

Air KBZ operates Yangon-Sittwe-Yangon flights twice a week. Yangon-Myeik-Yangon flight scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays and Sundays; Yangon-Mandalay-Kengtung-Mandalay-Yangon flight will be canceled on Wednesday. It will also fly on Fridays and Saturdays, and other domestic flights will be announced on the airline’s Facebook page. Tickets can also be purchased in person through Air KBZ’s website, mobile app and K7 Chatboot, including ticket agents. According to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Sports, all passengers on domestic flights will no longer need the COVID-19 test and will have to comply with other health standards.

According to the statement, passengers on domestic flights can apply for a ticket at a local ticket office or at a local ticket office. People will be able to purchase regular flights without any recommendation, either online or in accordance with the health standards. Passengers may be exposed to suspected COVID-19 fever; Whooping cough Sudden loss of odor. Only those who are free of all symptoms and conditions, such as contact with an infected person within two weeks, will be allowed to go on a scheduled trip. Passengers are required to abide by local orders when the aircraft arrives in their respective cities.

Source: Daily Eleven

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Myawady border trade rises above US$600 mln as of 12 March

THE border trade through Myawady between Myanmar and Thailand climbed up to US$600.5 million between 1 October and 12 March in the current financial year 2020-2021, reflecting an increase of $50.8 million as against a year-ago period. The trade through the Myawady border stood at $549.7 million in the corresponding period of the last FY 2019-2020. Myawady-Maesot border trade has remained mal, although Thailand ordered restrictions in Maesot, according to the Myawady Chamber of Commerce. Myawady border trade did not halt owing to the restriction orders by Thailand. Myanmar trucks cannot enter Maesot, but trucks from Thailand come and pick up the goods at Myawady post, the chamber stated. They experienced trade suspension via Myawady in October 2020.

The halt in trading undoubtedly harms the traders and truck drivers from both sides. It is good that trade does not stop at present, said a trader from Myawady. At present, the Myawady border does not have trade barriers except transaction problem triggered by the shutdown of the private banks, said the chair of Myanmar Corn Industrial Association. Trade is regularly flowing in and out of the country. What a problem is that we cannot claim income through a legitimate financial market during the meantime. Now, the trade is carried out through hundi operators. The closure of formal financial markets except the state-owned banks render the cash flow difficulties. Hundi business is weak to protect transactions and less secure. Additionally, they charge too much for services. Myanmar is currently shipping about 5,000-6,000 tonnes of corns to Thailand through the Myawady border every day.

Myanmar is allowed for corn export between 1 February and 31 August with Form-D, under zero tariff. Myanmar corn exports were exempted from tax between February and August. Thailand imposed a 73-per-cent tax on corn import to protect their growers’ rights if the corns are imported during the corn season of Thailand, as per the notification of the World Trade Organization regarding corn import of Thailand. The border trade between Thailand and Myanmar between 1 October and 12 March in the current FY plunged to US$1.57 billion from $1.9 billion registered in the year-ago period, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. During the last year, Myanmar has increasingly exported corns to Thailand through the Myawady border gate.

Myanmar’s corn exports to Thailand significantly soared to over 1.2 million tonnes through border gates between Myanmar and Thailand during October and May period in the 2019-2020FY, an official of the Ministry of Commerce said. There are seven border posts between Myanmar and Thailand, Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Htikhee, Myeik, Mawtaung and Maese. The majority of the border trade with Thailand is conducted via Myawady. Myanmar primarily exports corn, natural gas, fishery products, coal, tin concentrate (SN 71.58 per cent), coconut (fresh and dry), beans, and bamboo shoots to Thailand. It imports capital goods such as machinery, raw industrial goods such as cement and fertilizers, consumer goods such as cosmetics and food products from the neighbouring country.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Domestic gold price up by K80,000 within three weeks

ACCORDING to the domestic market, the price of precious pure gold metal increased by K80,000 per tical (0.578 ounces, or 0.016 kilograms) in the past three weeks. The price stood at only K1,302,000 per tical on 4 March, and then, it tremendously soared to K1,385,000 per tical on 23 March, the gold traders said. However, the rate has not reached the maximum of above K1,400,000 per tical registered in February. The international gold price was pegged at around US$1,700-1,736 per ounce in March, despite a sharp rise in the domestic market.

In January 2021, the gold price was ranged between the minimum of K1,316,000 per tical (28 January) and the maximum of K1,336,000 per tical (6 January). It reached an all-time high of K1,410,000 per tical on 3 February and hit the minimum of K1,340,000 per tical on 2 February. According to gold traders, the local gold reached the lowest level of K1,310,500 (2 September) and the highest level of K1,314,000 (1 September). In October, the rate ranged between K1,307,800 (30 October) and K1,316,500 (21 October).

The rate fluctuated between the highest of K1,317,000 (9 November) and the lowest of K1,270,000 (30 November). In December, the pure yellow metal priced moved in the range of 1,280,000 (1 December) and 1,332,000 (28 December). With global gold prices on the uptick, the domestic price hit fresh highs last year, reaching K1,000,000 per tical between 17 January and 21 February, crossing K1,100,000 (22 June to 5 August), climbing to over 1,200,000 (7 August-4 September), and then reaching a record high of K1,300,000 on 5 September 2019.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar exports plummet to $6.9 bln in current FY2020-2021

MYANMAR’S exports over the past five and half months of the current financial year 2020-2021 financial year touched a low to US$6.9 billion, reflecting a tremendous drop of over $1.5 billion compared with a yearago period of the previous FY, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. During the corresponding period in the previous FY, exports stood at $8.4 billion, according to data released by the ministry. The pandemic deals a severe blow to the manufacturing, mineral and other service sectors as it shut down the events. Additionally, people demand only staple food. The drop in exports in natural gas, gems and jewellery, and CMP garments contributes to the slump in exports, the ministry stated.

Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts and the transaction problem due to private banks’ closure. Of the seven export groups, agricultural exports increased $774 million against a year-ago period, while exports of other goods were also seen a slight rise. Meanwhile, exports of livestock, forest products, minerals, fishery products and finished industrial goods declined. Between 1 October and 12 March of the current FY, export values were registered at $2.6 billion for agro products, $15.9 million for livestock, $396.58 million for fishery products, $495.9 million for minerals, $59 million for forest products, $3.137 billion for manufactured goods, and $198 million for other goods.

The country’s export sector relies more on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. At present, CMP garment exports drastically dropping since the western countries cancelled order following the COVID-19 impacts. The country’s export sector is likely to extend its drop due to the current political climate, an exporter shared his opinion. The Ministry of Commerce is focusing on export promotion and market diversification. Since 2011, the Ministry of Commerce has adhered to its reform policy. A series of moves to liberalize and open the economy have been introduced through policy development to improve the trade environment.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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MoPFI extends exemption period for withholding tax on exports

The Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry has been exempting tax barriers for the businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The exemption period for withholding tax on exports will be extended up to 30 April 2021, according to its notification dated 19 March. The MoPFI earlier granted relief on a two per cent withholding tax on exports between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021. At present, the negative impacts of the pandemic are exacerbating, and so, the withholding tax will be extended until 30 April 2021.

Moreover, international trade transactions cannot be done during the meantime amid the closure of private banks. The Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce notified on 3 March that exporters and importers do not require to seek licences for 37 HS code lines for exports and 72 lines for imports between 8 March and 9 April 2021 to facilitate the trade. Export items with licence exemption include onion, garlic, rice, broken rice, raw sugar, refined sugar, natural rubber and cotton.

While the exemption covers the following import goods; sliced fish (salmon and tuna), flour, soybean seed, palm oil, food commodity, cement, gasoline, diesel, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer and lubricant. However, tax cut and licence exemption will not tackle the trade slowdown amid the current political changes, an exporter shared his opinion. Regardless of maritime trade disruption, border trade with China and Thailand remained strong. Withholding tax exemption will help smooth border trade businesses, a trader from Muse said.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Maritime trade drop by $3.76 bln in current FY

THE value of Myanmar’s maritime trade for the period between 1 October and 13 March in the 2020-2021 financial year sank to US$9.06 billion, a drastic drop of over $3.76 billion compared to the year-ago period, according to the Ministry of Commerce. While maritime exports were valued at $3.67 billion, imports were registered at $5.38 billion. Compared to the same period in the 2019-2020 budget year, imports fell by $2.4 billion, while exports decreased by $1.34 billion. Meanwhile, the value of trade through the border this FY was estimated at $4.99 billion, a decrease of
$66.65 million as against a year-ago period.

Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts. The neighbouring countries tightened border security and limited the trading time to contain the spread of the virus. Pandemic-induced container shortage pushed up the freight rates to almost triple in Myanmar, causing delays for traders. Additionally, according to the Myanmar Mercantile Marine Development Association, some ocean liners suspended cargo transport from Myanmar. The halt of ocean liners will undoubtedly affect the maritime trade. The cargo transport will double or triple if we conduct the trade with small ships, said an official of the association.

The country’s total external trade reached $11.987 billion, which plunged from $14.3 billion recorded in a year-ago period. Myanmar’s sea trade generated $26 billion from an overall trade value of $36 billion in the last FY2019-2020, the Ministry of Commerce’s statistics indicated. Myanmar exports agricultural products, fishery products, minerals, livestock, forest products, finished industrial goods, and other products. At the same time, it imports capital goods, consumer goods, and raw industrial materials. The country currently has nine ports involved in sea trade. Yangon Port is the main gateway for Myanmar’s maritime trade. It includes the Yangon inner terminals and the outer Thilawa Port.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar