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CBM sells $3 mln for third time in June

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) sold US$3 million for the third time this month on 25 June. About US$3 million were sold at an auction exchange rate of K1,595 per US dollar. On 7 June, the CBM sold about $ 3 million for the first time this month at an auction market rate. The bank has already sold a total of US$12 million within this month. In May, the CBM reportedly sold $24 million at an auction rate. The CBM is conducting auctions for foreign exchange to reduce the fluctuation of foreign exchange rates in a shortterm period and fulfil the needs of foreign exchange reserves.

The dollar exchange rate against Myanmar Kyat stood at around K1,330 per dollar at the end-January. Then, the rate jumped to K1,730 per dollar on 12 May. With the rising US dollar exchange rate, the CBM has been constantly selling the US dollar at an auction exchange rate since 12 May. Consequently, the exchange rate dips to around K1,600 in the local foreign exchange market.

The local foreign exchange market’s data in 2021, the highest and the lowest exchange rate is currently fixed around K1,327- 1,345 in January, K1,335-1,465 in February, K1,420-1,550 in March, K1,550-1,610 in April and K1,585- 1,730 in May. In 2020, the exchange rate moved in the range of K1,465- 1,493 in January, K1,436-1,465 in February, K1,320-1,445 in March, K1,395-1,440 in April, K1,406-1,426 in May, K1,385-1,412 in June, K1,367-1,410 in July, K1,335-1,390 in August, K1,310-1,355 in September, K1,282-1,315 in October, K1,303-1,330 in November and K1,324-1,403 in December.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Cargo shipping crisis impedes palm oil import amid COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a cargo shipping crisis, hindering palm oil import, said U San Lin, chair of Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association. The cargo shipping disrupted the palm oil import. The resurgences of COVID-19 infections in India raised concerns and hit the shipping industry hard. Additionally, the bank-ing restrictions imposed difficulties to exporters and importers. At present, the domestic palm oil price has slightly declined, tracking the import price retreat, said U San Lin, chair of Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association. The price of palm oil fell to US$995 per tonne in the international market.

Consequently, it ranges K2,800-2,900 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kg) in the domestic wholesale market. The oil palm trees produce fruits in abundance this time. The price is likely to be in the bull market up to October if any trade barrier will not occur. In early January 2021, production slump in importing countries Malaysia and Indonesia, caused by erratic weather conditions and the COVID-19 impacts, high imports by certain countries under tax reduction, a tax hike on exports in producing countries and the short storage of palm oil in those countries contributed to the rise in edible oil price.

The palm oil price stood at $1,055-1,200 per tonne in the foreign market. Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association issued a notice in January to import palm oil from foreign countries sustainably for self-sufficiency and distribute edible oil at a fair price to consumers. So it would ensure that there will be no edible oil shortage in regions and states when there is a rise in imported oil price. The domestic consumption of edible oil is estimated at 1 million tonnes per year. The local cooking oil production is just about 400,000 tonnes. About 700,000 tonnes of cooking oil are yearly imported in order to meet the self-sufficiency in the domestic market.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar  

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Myanmar-Thai border trade nearly hit $3 bln

Trade volume between Myanmar and Thailand in the financial year 2020-21 hit a total of US$2.95 billion in total, Ministry of Commerce statistics shows. According to the Ministry, Myanmar’s exports to Thailand reached $2.06 billion while imports hit $895 million. Compared to the same period in the last FY, this year FY’s figures declined by $71 million. The bilateral border trade hit $3.02 billion last year.

The county mainly conducts border trade with Thailand through seven border checkpoints, Tachilek, Myawady, Kawthoung, Myeik, Hteekhee, Mawtaung and Meisei gates. From 1 October 2020 to 18 June 2021, the Myawady border gate topped with the most bilateral border trade value of $1.23 billion. Myanmar’s exports to Thailand were primarily agriculture and livestock products, and imports from Thailand were mainly non-alcoholic beverages, fabric and yarn, motorcycles and related parts, and construction material.

The bilateral trade between Myanmar and Thailand stood at $2.95 billion in FY2020-2021 (as of June), $5.1 billion in FY2019-2020, $5.5 billion in FY2018-2019, $2.9 billion in the mini-budget year of 2018 or transitional period from April to September this year, $5 billion in FY2017-2018, $4.3 billion in the 2016-2017FY, $4.8 billion in the 2015-2016FY, $5.7 billion in the 2014-2015FY, $5.6 billion in the 2013-2014FY, $4.7 billion in the 2012-2013FY, and $4.5 billion in the 2011-2012FY, according to the Myanmar Ministry of Commerce. Thailand is Myanmar second-largest trade partner and third-largest foreign investor.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Imports down by $3.5 bln as of 18 June, MoC reports

The value of Myanmar’s imports between 1 October and 18 June in the current financial year 2020-2021 stood at US$10.84 billion, a sharp drop of $3.5 billion from $14.36 billion registered in the year-ago period, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. The value of imports in the consumer, capital, intermediate goods, and CMP businesses groups declined in the current FY. The drop in foreign direct investment this year negatively affected the trade. Over the past eight and a half months of the current FY, capital goods, such as auto parts, vehicles, machines, steel, and aeroplane parts were brought into the country.

Their import value was estimated at $3.77 billion. The figure was over $1.7 billion lower than those values registered in the same period of the previous FY. Meanwhile, Myanmar imported consumer products worth $2.3 billion, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and palm oil. The imports of consumer products showed a slight decrease of $162.7 million compared with the same period in the previous FY. Intermediate goods make up the second-largest share of Myanmar’s imports, with petroleum products and plastic raw materials being the main import items. This year, imports of raw materials plunged to $3.66 billion from $4.78 billion registered during the year-ago period.

During the same period, raw materials worth over $1 billion were also imported for the Cut-Make-Pack (CMP) garment sector, showing a decrease of $524 million compared with the last budget year. At present, the CMP garment sector which contributes to 30 per cent of Myanmar’s export sector is struggling due to the cancellation of the order from the European countries and suspension of trading by western countries amid the COVID-19. Therefore, import values of raw materials by CMP businesses have been dropping. The top 10 import countries to Myanmar are China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Viet Nam, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US, as per data of the Ministry of Commerce. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar pharmaceutical imports top $303 mln in seven months

The import value of Myanmar pharmaceutical products was estimated at US$303.5 million in the seven months (Oct-Apr) of the current financial year 2020-2021, according to Myanmar Customs Department. Myanmar imports 90 per cent of medicine and medical products through foreign markets, the Myanmar Chamber of Commerce for Pharmaceutical & Medical Device (MCCPMD) stated.

India is the main supplier for Myanmar. Also, it is imported by Bangladesh, China, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, China (Taipei), Thailand, US and Viet Nam. Trade has returned to normalcy after panic buying during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most commonly prescribed drugs are available in the market. Only some are out of stock for now. At present, pharmaceutical import is regularly flowing. However, the prices of pharmaceuticals were up by 5 to 10 per cent owing to the dollar appreciation. The Ministry of Commerce has cut the red tape for imports of some pharmaceuticals which have been earlier imported.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Man Wein post possibly to extend shutdown even after three months

Man Wein border post is likely to remain closed in light of the COVID-19 consequences, said U Min Thein, vice chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. In March-end, the coronavirus cases were detected in Shweli (Ruili) and Kyalgaung areas, prompting China to restrict border access from 30 March at the Man Wein checkpoint, which is a major border crossing between Myanmar and China. Man Wein border closure is possibly to be extended even after three months shutdown.

There is less possibility to reopen the Man Wein border post as the COVID-19 cases in Myanmar is surging. Additionally, Man Wein border post is not available for now according to the negotiation with Shweli’s Foreign Affairs Department. The border post will resume the trade only after drawing up a detailed project report, the Trade Department (Muse 105th mile trade zone) stated.

Following the closure of Man Wein post, the major export items such as rice, broken rice, various pulses, fishery products, onion and chilli are being delivered to China through Kyinsankyawt post, which is a major crossing for Myanmar’s fruit exports. However, shipping via Kyinsankyawt post caused traffic congestion and delay. Consequently, Myanmar is currently shipping rice and broken rice via the Bhamo-Lwejel route. During the first wave of the COVID-19, the driver-substitution system was practised in the border area, which helps lessen the impediments to the trade, yet the current restriction exacerbates the border trade, Muse Rice Wholesale Centre stated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar goods trade deficit with Singapore estimated at $1.38 bln this FY

Myanmar trade deficit in goods with Singapore was estimated at US$1.38 billion in the past seven months (Oct-Apr) of the current financial year 2020-2021, Myanmar Customs Department’s statistics indicated. The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with Singapore in maritime trade and border trade topped $1.624 billion in the past seven months.

The Myanmar Customs Department reported that imports surpassed exports in trade with Singapore, with exports reaching over $117.78 million and imports valued at over $1.5 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 over 12 pc in the FY2019-2020 with $3.8 billion respectively.

Myanmar exports agricultural products such as broken rice, pulses, sesame seeds, onion, footwear, textile and clothing, minerals, and other products to Singapore, while it imports plastic, fuel oil, edible oil, transport equipment, chemical elements and compounds, wheat flour, pharmaceutical products, dairy product and consumer product.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Agro exports surge to $3.88 bln as of 18 June

The agricultural exports spiked to US$3.88 billion over the past eight and a half months of the current financial year 2020-2021, despite the downward trend in other export groups amid the tightened coronavirus containment measures in the border areas and increase in container shipping cost. The figures reflect a significant rise of $923.9 million this FY. The agro exports topped $2.95 billion in the corresponding period of the 2019-2020 FY, according to the trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce.

The agricultural exports unexpectedly surge regardless of the impact of the coronavirus on foreign demand for other export groups such as fishery, livestock, mineral, forest products, finished industrial goods and other goods. In the exports sector, the agriculture industry performed the best, accounting for 37 per cent of overall exports. The chief items of export in the agricultural sector 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, as they are currently exported to external markets based upon supply and demand. The G to G pact also ensures the strong market for the farmers. Contract farming systems, involvement of region and state agriculture departments, exporters, traders, and some grower groups, are required in order to meet production targets, the Agriculture Department stated. 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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Trade flows of Chinshwehaw checkpoint suspended for more than two months

The Namh Pha Haw bridge, which connects the Chinshwehaw town, Laukkai Township, northern Shan State has been closed since 18 April. Chin State has announced that they are going to suspend all incoming and outgoing vehicles and people to and from China through Chinshwehaw (Myanmar-China bilateral trade camp) starting from 18 April. The checkpoints were closed after people have been tested positive with COVID-19 in Chinshwehaw, Kunlong and Laukkai townships, major border towns between Myanmar and China.

After the suspension period, some construction-related items and other basic foods loaded small vehiclesentered Myanmar as imported cargos to construct new Kunlong bridge, said an official from Chinshwehaw town. During these days, the COVID-19 infection was under control in Chinshwehaw, more than 400,000 tonnes of sugarcane, an alternative crop to poppy, were allowed to be imported from 10 May to end-May.

The officials are also coordinating for regular shipments of imported vehicles as earlier from Myanmar to China. However, the trade value through Chinshwehaw border checkpoint soared to $387.036 million between 1 October and 16 Aprilin the current financial year 2020-2021 from $313.306 billion recorded in the corresponding period of last FY, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. The two countries border trading has improved by $73.730 million. At present, Myanmar carries out border trade with China mainly through Muse, Lwejel, Chinshwehaw, Kampaiti and Kengtung border checkpoints.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Sino-Myanmar bilateral trade exceeds $6 bln in H1

The value of Myanmar’s trade with China through maritime and border trade channels amounted to over US$6.13 billion in the first half (Oct-Mar) of the 2020-2021 Financial Year, including $3.18 billion worth of exports and $2.95 billion for import, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar primarily exports agro products to China through the border gates.

However, trade in agricultural products is frequently halted on account of China clamping down on illegal trade in border gates. Furthermore, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 since April-end, hindering the border trade at the present time. In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the related departments and the stakeholders have been negotiating with China counterparts.

The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. The value of bilateral trade with China stood at $12 billion in the 2019-2020 FY, $11.36 billion in the 2018-2019 FY, $6 billion in the past mini-budget period, $11.78 billion in the 2017-2018 fiscal year and $10.8 billion in the 2016-2017 FY respectively. Rice, various types of peas, sesame seeds, corn, fruits and vegetables, dried tea leaves, fishery products, rubber, minerals and animal products are exported to China, whereas machinery, plastic raw materials, consumer products and electronic tools flow into Myanmar.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar