Rice export through Muse border comes to abrupt halt

Myanmar’s rice export to China through the Muse land border has stalled amidst the coronavirus concerns, said U Min Thein, vice-chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. The abrupt halt in border trade came after one Myanmar citizen tested positive for COVID- 19 was found in Kyalgaung precious stone market on 29 March. That prompted China to restrict border access at the Mang Wein checkpoint, a major border crossing between Muse and Kyalgaung areas.

After the closure of the Mang Wein checkpoint, exports of Myanmar’s kitchen crops such as onion and chilli, various pulses and beans, rice and broken rice, and the fishery products were totally suspended. Consequently, rice and broken rice inflow to Muse border was not seen either. During the first wave of coronavirus pandemic, the driver substitution system helped lessen the impact on border trade. Even the truck cannot enter the border posts, which makes 100 per cent market collapse in Muse border.

Therefore the traders are urgently calling for the reopening of the Man Wein post at the soonest. Myanmar Rice Federation stated that Myanmar had shipped US$275 million worth of more than 720,000 tonnes of rice and broken rice to foreign countries in Q1 (1 October and 15 January) of the current financial year 2020-2021. The border trade handled over 308,000 tonnes of rice, while maritime trade covered over 418,000 tonnes in Q1. Myanmar generated over $800 million from rice exports in the previous FY2019-2020 ended 30 September, with an estimated volume of over 2.5 million tonnes.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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US$300 million worth fish auction market project to be implemented in Myeik

A fish auction market project in Myeik with an investment of some US$300 million will be implemented as earlier as possible, said an official from the Myeik Public Corporation. The market will be built on Kyweku-Kyaukphya river bank in Myeik town, Myeik District of Taninthayi Region. The new fish auction market project will include constructing a jetty to load and unload the fish, along with the structure of a residential area. The project has been delayed before, and it will now be undertaken as promptly as possible.

The project can bring revenue to the country and create job opportunities for the locals. Phase 1 of the project is to build a jetty to charge and discharge the fish cargoes and make cold storages. In contrast, Phase 2 of the project will cover the construction of the factories to manufacture finished products from raw materials. Phase 3 of the project comprises the construction of the residential areas. And, Phase 4 involves the building of expansion facilities to support the factories.

Concerning the project, a proposal has been submitted previously. But, the project has yet to complete, and a new proposal has been submitted again. The project will be implemented on a 700-acre plot of land. The Union minister and officials will come to inspect the project area, the Myeik Public Corporation official elaborated. Although the fish auction market project was proposed to carry out on 2,000 acres of land, now it will be built on 700 acres of land if the permit is granted. Upon completing the project, the fish market could be taken back from Thailand, where the Myanmar fish market has externally existed for more than 20 years.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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YGEA urges members to run cash only for gold transaction

Yangon Region Gold Entrepreneurs Association (YGEA) has called for the members to make the gold transaction with only immediate cash payment. That move will regulate unsustainable rally in the gold market and urge the members to run a cash only for gold transaction in the same regions and states in order to avoid the verbal transactions over calls, said U Myo Myint, chair of YGEA. For instance, a purchase via Mawlamyine, Mandalay, and Pathein over a phone call is unaccepted. Only the transaction with immediate payment in Yangon Region is allowed to avoid unsustainable and unsafe rally.

Last 24 April, YGEA held the meeting, highlighting the stability of the gold market, running cash only for the gold transaction and make a analysis on market rumours. The price of domestic yellow metal reached K1,453,000 per tical on 26 April, tracking the positive international trends. The gold price was ranged between K1,316,000 per tical (28 January) in the minimum and K1,336,000 per tical (6 January) in the maximum. 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. The rate fluctuated between the highest of K1,391,000 (25 March) and the lowest of K1,302,000 (4 March), the gold traders said.

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 to reach K1,000,000 per tical between 17 January and 21 February. It crossed 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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Pigeon pea price in bull market

THE pigeon pea (red gram) price continues rising from early April, and it surged to above K94,5000 per metric tonne in the fourth week of April. The pigeon pea price was on the rise in March-end 2021 amid the low yield and the dollar gain. The pigeon peas market saw a slight upward trend in price along with the appreciation of US dollar against Kyat, according to the domestic market. The gram fetched up only K837,500 per tonne in early February. The price in April-end showed a remarkable increase of K 100,000 per tonne as against February’s rate. The traders set the selling price at K 88,000-90,000 per three-basket bag in the Mandalay market. The majority of them accept only immediate cash payment.

The pigeon pea market remains bullish even after the Thingyan holidays (13-19 April), a trader from the Mandalay market shared his opinion. Myanmar’s pigeon peas are primarily shipped to India and exported to Singapore, the US, Canada, Pakistan, the UK, and Malaysia. But, the export volume to other countries rather than to India is extremely small. More than 249,245 tonnes of various pulses and beans were exported to foreign markets between 1 October and 4 December of the current financial year2020-2021, with an estimated value of US$217 million. Of them, the pigeon pea export account- ed for 83,758 tonnes, generating an income of $57.94 million, the Commerce Ministry’s data indicated. The domestic bean market is positively related to the law of supply and demand.

Since 2017, India has been setting import quota on beans, including black grams and pigeon peas. Therefore, the growers face difficulties to export their beans to the Indian market. India’s move to restrict importation of pulses in August 2017 severely affected growers in Myanmar. The price of pulses also drastically plummeted. In the 2017-2018 FY, over a million tons of black grams, pigeon peas, and green grams were shipped to foreign countries. Nevertheless, the earnings have registered at just $713 million owing to the price drop. Myanmar shipped over 1.6 million tonnes of different varieties of pulses, especially black grams, with an estimated worth of US$1 billion, to other counties in the FY2018-2019. During last FY2019-2020 ended 30 September, the country delivered 1.6 million tonnes to the external market, generating an export value of $1.195 billion.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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The Central Bank of Myanmar released banks will be allowed to open new accounts from May 3,2021 with no restrictions on cash withdrawals

Banks will be allowed to open new accounts and deposit cash from May 3, and the central bank announced on April 27 that it would allow unrestricted cash withdrawals from those accounts, according to a broadcast on Myanmar Radio and Television. 

From May 3, the public will be allowed to open new bank accounts and deposit cash if they wish to deposit their cash in banks for security purposes.

In addition, those who have opened bank accounts before May 3 will continue to be allowed to withdraw cash in accordance with the Central Bank of Myanmar’s original withdrawal restrictions. According to the press release, arrangements are being made to ease these withdrawal restrictions.

Source: Daily Eleven

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Fuel oil price up by 55 per cent in three months

The domestic fuel oil price has now risen above 50 per cent per litre in three months, as the heightened coronavirus restriction and possible lockdown in Asia sparked oil demand concerns, coupled with a strong dollar exchange rate. The fuel oil was pegged at around K590 per litre for Octane 92, K610 for Octane 95, K590 for diesel and K605 for premium diesel in early February 2021 in the domestic retail market. Then, it remarkably rose to K920 for Octane 92, K1,005 for Octane 95, K920 for diesel and K930 for premium diesel on 25 April 2021, according to the local fuel oil market. Domestic oil price is positively related to the global market.

Oil price inched higher in the global market at US$62.14 per barrel for WTI crude and $66.11 for Brent crude on 24 April. Additionally, the foreign exchange rate also affects the petroleum price. The US dollar is gaining against Kyat in the local forex market in April, rising above K1,600 per dollar. In mid-February, a dollar was worth K1,430. Usually, Myanmar imports fuel oil primarily from Singapore, with monthly volumes touching 200,000 tonnes for gasoline and 400,000 tonnes for diesel. There are about 2,000 fuel stations and over 50 oil importer companies in Myanmar, Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association stated. A monthly oil import is estimated at $400 million, yet the oil importers face banking restrictions for maritime trade.

Oil importers via land border can use informal payment Hundi system instead, said an importer. The domestic oil prices have declined from 10 January 2020 owing to a fall in global oil prices. On 8 January 2020, oil prices were pegged at around K905 per litre for Octane 92, K995 for Octane 95, and K985 for diesel and premium diesel. Following the global market crashing, the domestic oil price plunged to more than 50 per cent in April against January’s prices. In late April 2020, the oil prices touched a low of K290-330 per litre for Octane 92, K430-455 for Octane 95, K435-465 for diesel, and K445-475 for premium diesel, according to the domestic oil market.  Ninety per cent of fuel oil in Myanmar is imported, while the remaining 10 per cent is produced locally. In the Q1 of the current financial year2020-2021, about $600 million worth of petroleum products were imported. The figure plunged by half compared to a year-ago period, the Ministry of Commerce stated. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Muse border trade almost hangs down because of COVID-19

MUSE border trade virtually hangs down because of coronavirus outbreak in the border market, said U Min Thein, the vice-chairman of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. On 29 March, a Myanmar national was found to be COVID-19 positive in Kyauk Wine market in Kyaigaung. The next day, China restricted the border crossing at the Mang Wein checkpoint, which is one of major border crossings between Muse and Kyaigaung. Consequently, the main export stuffs namely rice and broken rice, pulses, aquatic products, onion and chilli to China through Mang Wein checkpoint were 100 per cent suspended.

Although the export items are allowed through other checkpoints Wan Ding and Kyin San Kyawt, the inspection over the products has been tightened starting from 20 April because of pandemic. Currently, the export of such products as rice, broken rice, green gram, aquatic products, onion and chilli are halted 100 per cent at Muse border checkpoint. The watermelon and muskmelon are still exported via Kyin San Kyawt checkpoint. However the trade of watermelon and muskmelon are down 90 per cent than previously because the health checks are more stringent than earlier at Kyin San Kyawt checkpoint.

According to the statement of the People’s Republic of China Yunnan COVID-19 prevention team prevention on 19 April said that any of 30 sample items from an export truck to China were needed to undergo COVID-19 test starting from 20 April. The COVID-19 test on each sample item will cost 60 Yuans. The costs will be borne by the owner of the cargos. The export products will only be allowed to discharge the day after the COVID-19 test proves negative. Besides, the traders and cargo handlers will have to undergo COVID-19 tests daily and the cost is 60 Yuans per person. Likewise, people are allowed to enter the workplace only after having the medical record, checking the body temperature and wearing the masks and gloves. The workers and staff have to stay in the restricted areas from 9 pm to 8 am. Those who are disobedient of the rules will be deported. As a result, some export cargos to China through Muse border trade seem to be suspended 90 per cent while some export items are suspended 100 per cent.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Food commodities including instant coffee temporarily banned on Myanmar-Thailand border

MYANMAR’S Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce has notified that four food commodities are temporarily restricted for import via the Myanmar-Thailand border starting from 1 May, Myawady Trade Zone reported. The restricted items include various beverages, coffee mix and tea mix, instant coffee, and condensed milk and evaporated milk. However, they can be imported through maritime trade. Traders stressed that it would add more extra transport costs. Moreover, it causes price hikes in the retail market at present. The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with the neighbouring country Thailand through the land border has registered a decrease of US$370.79 million between 1 October and 2 April of the current financial year 2020- 2021 as against a year-ago period the statistics issued by the Ministry of Commerce indicated. The ministry reported that exports surpassed imports in trade with Thailand this year, with exports reaching over $1.3 billion and imports valued at over $589.7 million, totaling $1.9 billion.

Myawady border performed the best among seven border points between Myanmar and Thailand, having a trade value of $729.46 million. During the corresponding period of the past FY2019-2020, Myanmar-Thailand border trade touched a high of $2.28 billion. During the last FY, Myanmar has increasingly exported corns to Thailand through the Myawady border. Myanmar’s corn exports to Thailand significantly soared to over 1.2 million tonnes through border posts between Myanmar and Thailand during October and May period in the FY2019-2020, said an official of the Ministry of Commerce. At present, Myanmar exports the corn to Thailand through Myawady and Tachilek land border. About 5,000-6,000 tonnes of corn are daily sent to Thailand through Myawady, while Tachilek border does not regularly export. Myanmar is allowed for corn export between 1 February and 31 August with Form-D, under zero tariff.

Thailand imposed 73 per cent of tax on corn import to protect the rights of their growers if the corns are imported during the corn season of Thailand, according to the notification of the World Trade Organization regarding corn import of Thailand, said a corn exporter. Myanmar intends to reach an export target of one million tonnes of corn to Thailand this year, Myanmar Corn Industrial Association stated. Additionally, exports of natural gas from the Taninthayi Region has contributed to the enormous increase in border trade with Thailand in the previous years. This year, gas exports via the Hteekhee border drastically fell. There are seven border posts between Myanmar and Thailand, Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Htikhee, Myeik, Mawtaung and Meisei. Except for Tachilek and Myawady, the remaining border posts showed a decrease in the trade this FY. Myanmar primarily exports 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.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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The closure of the Chin-Shwe-Haw border has halted the export of Myanmar agricultural product and the import of fertilizers and metal products from China

According to the Chin Shwe Haw Chamber of Commerce, the closure of the Chin-Shwe-Haw border checkpoint, which is a cross-border trade between Burma and China, has halted the export of Myanmar agricultural products and fertilizers and metal products imported from China. The gate was closed on April 16, citing the Chinese side as saying that the virus was found on April 16. The Chin Shwe Haw border gate will be reopened on May 15. It will be closed for a month. They also say that it will shut down again if the virus is found again, depending on the virus. There are more than 400 cars here on the side of Myanmar, and more than 100 cars have entered the Chinese side. This is the export of goods from Myanmar. On the Chinese side, they have more than 300 imported goods coming to Myanmar. 

On the morning of 22nd April,2020, the last 147 cars have been unloaded. About 420 cars on the next road coordinate with traders. The gate is closed for a month, so will the goods be dropped off at Chin Shwe Hall or they negotiate with the traders to return the goods to Muse and Lwe Kyi, some put it down. However, few cars were ordered to return to Muse and Lwa Kyi. Mandalay collapsed again. People are in a lot of trouble. In addition, a trader from Chin Shwe Haw said, it is uncertain whether it will be reopened. So that all people have to endure it and prepare mental strength, manpower and financially.

Pulses from Burma at Chin Shwe Haw border gate sesame, corn dried chillies; agricultural products such as betel nut and sugarcane are being exported. Iron ring Soup powder Etc. are being imported. The items banned by China’s COVID-19 defense force include commercial vehicles and agricultural products, raw vegetables and small local pumpkins, and sugarcane. The Yunnan provincial government has closed the two border checkpoints in Muse due to the COVID-19 disease, and the Yunnan COVID-19 National Guard issued a strict entry and exit rules in a statement issued on April 19. Traders are also worried that the border with China will soon be closed again due to the COVID-19 virus.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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As a result of the current situation, Myanmar’s manufacturing PMI fell to a record low in March, resulting in a drop in new products, orders and a record number of pending jobs.

As a result, Myanmar’s manufacturing PMI fell to a record low in March, lowering the number of new products and orders, and a record number of pending jobs, according to the IHS Markit Myanmar Manufacturing PMI released on April 1, 2021. Due to the current situation, in March, the last month of the first quarter, Myanmar’s manufacturing sector declined significantly and factories and customers remained closed. At the same time, volatile demand led to a near-record decline in the workforce, during which time factories remained closed, leading to the largest number of unfinished jobs in survey history.

Due to COVID-19, factories continued to close and companies plummeted due to a sharp drop in new jobs in September 2020, and the current situation has exacerbated the situation as workers have been forced to return to their hometowns. According to the IHS Markit Myanmar Manufacturing PMI, the key indicator of productivity, Myanmar fell from a record low of 27.7 in February 2021 to 27.5 in March. The survey also signals the worst decline in manufacturing since December 2015, when the survey began. In addition, even though the number of new orders has decreased, the number of unfinished projects has been the largest in the survey history. 

During this period, new orders fell and demand volatility in the coming months forced companies to cut both pre-production and post-production inventories. Inflationary pressures intensified last March due to a shortage of raw materials and a weak exchange rate from the dollar to the kyat. Overall, weak demand is exacerbated by the fact that companies have been able to raise their selling prices modestly because they have not been able to bear the burden of their costs. According to the survey, production volume expectations for the coming year reflect weak demand. Confidence has fallen since September 2020, falling far below the survey’s long-term average. The survey is based on original data collected from industry by IHS Markit and sponsored by Japan-based Nikkei Media Group.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar