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Imports of foreign vehicles will be suspended to reduce the use of foreign currency

The Department of Commerce has announced that the import of foreign vehicles will be suspended to reduce the use of foreign currency. The aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak has led to business delays.

 The statement said that the import of passenger vehicles will be suspended from October 1 in order to reduce the use of foreign currency in connection with the import of goods due to the country’s declining exports.

Imports from motor vehicle sales centers and showrooms, and the issuance of individual import permits for individual employees who have been approved by the relevant departments for those who have been awarded the Good Civil Servant Badge, Good Military Service and Police Badge badges. The statement also said that the right to open a new car sales center has been suspended from October 1.

Source: Daily Eleven

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Myanmar imports over $849.97 mln worth of machinery, spare parts in 10 months

The import of Myanmar’s machinery and spare parts was worth over US$849.97 million in the last ten months (October-July) of the financial year 2020-2021, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated. Similarly, the country imported $609.42 million worth of vehicles and spare parts.

Imports of commercial vehicles and machinery were permitted through seaports and three land borders — Muse, Myawady, and Tachilek. The vehicle import permit applied to the individuals and the showrooms with the consignment system suspended starting from the last week of September 2021, according to the statement released by the Ministry of Commerce.

The import permit for CBU (Completely Build Up) vehicles can be applied for by 30 September 2021. Nevertheless, the authorities give the green light to the SKD vehicles (semi-knocked down) and CKD vehicles (completely knocked down) that were assembled locally. Importing the vehicles costs a lot owing to the Kyat depreciation, double shipping rate and price volatility with the tax in the previous months. At present, the automobile market for new vehicles and second-hand cars are leading to a downward trend during the financial hard times.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar-Bangladesh bilateral trade down by $16 mln this FY

Trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh as of 17 September since October this year has exceeded US$35 million, down $16 million from the same period last year, according to the monthly data issued by the Ministry of Commerce. Between 1 October and 17 September of this FY, the Myanmar-Bangladesh trade through border checkpoints has touched $35.41 million, with exports worth $16.98 million and imports amounting to $18.43 million.

Compared with the same period last year, the value of exports between the two countries dropped by $9.54 million, while imports declined by $ 6.46 million. For the same period last year, the total trade between the two countries was valued at $51.4 million, with $ 26.5 million in exports and $24.89 million in imports.

Myanmar exports goods to Bangladesh through both maritime and land routes. Bilateral border trade is mainly conducted through the Sittway and Maungtaw points of entry. The products traded between the two countries include bamboo, ginger, peanut, saltwater prawns and fish, dried plums, garlic, rice, mung beans, blankets, candy, plum jams, footwear, frozen foods, chemicals, leather, jute products, tobacco, plastics, wood, knitwear, and beverages.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar foreign trade sees drastic drop this FY

Myanmar’s external trade between 1 October and 17 September in the current financial year 2020-2021 sank 21 per cent as against the year-ago period, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. The country’s foreign trade exceeded US$28 billion over ten and a half months, whereas the international trade stood at over $35.75 billion in the corresponding period of last FY, according to the data released by the ministry. During the past ten months, Myanmar’s export was worth over $14 billion whereas, the country’s import was relatively low at $14.1 billion.

Both maritime trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts. The neighbouring countries tightened the border security and the border posts came to an abrupt stop amid the COVID-19 surging in Myanmar. At present, the traders have transaction problems triggered by the restriction of the private banks. Furthermore, the pandemic triggered the cargo shipping crisis, a market observer shared his opinion. Myanmar exports agricultural products, animal products, minerals, forest products, and finished industrial goods, while it imports capital goods, raw industrial materials, and consumer goods.

The country’s export sector relies much on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. However, the suspended trade in the border checkpoints and the order cancellation from the western countries amid the political changes exacerbate the export sector for now. The Ministry of Commerce is focusing on reducing the trade deficit, export promotion and market diversification. The external trade stood at $36.73 billion in the 2019-2020FY, $35.147 billion in the 2018-2019FY, $18.728 billion in the 2018 six month interim period, $33.578 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $29.209 billion in the 2016-2017FY, respectively, as per the Commerce Ministry’s statistics.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Thailand to reopen special temporary border checkpoint Prachuap Khiri Khan on Thai-Myanmar border on October 1

Traders say the Thai-Myanmar special temporary border checkpoint at Prachuap Khiri Khan will be reopened on October 1. Myeik District, Tanintharyi Region The Thai side is planning to reopen the Sin Khun border gate in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, which trades with Mawtaung border in Tanintharyi Township, after the end of this month. Sources in Thailand say the trade-restricted gateway will be reopened due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Currently, seafood can only be shipped after making ice cubes according to the traders. They cannot export frozen or fresh seafood. The economy is in a slump due to the epidemic and political situations. The Thai side is monitoring the situation in Myanmar and is reportedly planning to reopen the border gate as the rate of infection is declining, said a Mawtaung-Sinkhun border trader. Border crossings at the Mawtaung-Sinkhun checkpoint have been frequently closed due to illnesses on the Thai side.

The Thongkha-Mawtaung section of the road has been upgraded to boost border trade through the Mawtaung-Singun gate. However, border trade has not been as strong as expected, and car traffic has been low. Mawtaung Road will be important if trade recovers. It is only a few hours drive from Bangkok, Thailand, so the Mawtaung-Sinkhun border gate is very important for trade, said an official from the Myeik District Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Thailand will allow only those who have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine to enter and leave the border gates, and plans are afoot to open them gradually. From January 1, 2022, tourists will be allowed to enter from 13 border districts of Thailand, and plans are afoot to visit 43 districts, according to Thai media reports.                      

Source: Daily Eleven

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CBM sells $15 mln on 27 September

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has announced that they have sold US$15 million on 27 September 2021, at an auction market rate, totalling sales of US$ 48 million in September five times. About $15 million was sold at an auction exchange rate of K1,755 per US dollar. The CBM report sold $15 million on 13 and 20 September, $8 million on 15 September and $10 million on 22 September.

With the rising US dollar exchange rate, the CBM has been constantly selling the US dollar at an auction exchange rate since 12 May. The bank has also sold about $28 million in total in August seven times, according to figures released from the CBM. This CBM’s move is aimed at governing the market volatility and strengthening the local currency value. Rules and directives have been set out for the CBM’s auctions.

Following such rules and directives, the CBM is trading the foreign currency with three state-owned banks, 19 local private banks and 13 foreign banks, which are holding authorized dealer-AD licences. The CBM sold $6.8 million in February 2021, a foreign exchange auction, but did not sell in March.The CBM sold $12 million in April, $24 million in May, $12 million in June, $39 million in July and $28 million in August.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Fuel oil prices double during eight-month period

The domestic fuel oil price in the last week of September tremendously increased to double compared with the price recorded in the past eight months, Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association’s price data showed. The coronavirus impacts and the remarkable global rally led to the price rises, coupled with the devaluation of Kyat in the forex market. The fuel oil was pegged at around at K590 per litre for Octane 92, K610 for Octane 95, K590 for diesel and K605 for premium diesel in early February 2021 in domestic retail market. Then, it remarkably climbed up to K1,235 for Octane 92, K1,275 for Octane 95, K1,230 for diesel and K1,249 for premium diesel on 26 September 2021, according to local fuel oil market.

Domestic oil price is positively related to global market. Oil price inched higher in the global market at US$73.98 per barrel for WTI crude and $78.09 for Brent crude on 26 September. Additionally, foreign exchange rate also affects thepetroleum price. The Kyat continues to weaken in the local forex market in September, rising above K2,100 per dollar. In mid-February, a dollar was worth K1,430 only. Myanmar imported nearly $2.3 billion worth fuel oil in the past ten months (Oct-July) of the current financial year 2020- 2021, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Normally, a monthly oil import is estimated at $400 million, yet the oil importers are facing banking restrictions for maritime trade besides Kyat depreciation. Oil importers via land border can use informal payment Hundi system instead, said an importer.

Normally, 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. Last year, the domestic oil prices have declined starting from January 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 the lowest 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.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Four more million doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines purchased from China arrive in Yangon

As a measure to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health is administering the COVID-19 vaccines to the target groups. Of 24 million doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines purchased from the People’s Republic of China, 4 more million doses arrived at the Yangon International Airport yesterday and were received by the head of Yangon Region Medical Services/ Public Health Departments and official.

These vaccines will be distributed to regions and states based on the requirement, via road transport or with the help of the Tatmadaw (Air) and Myanmar airways in the cold chain. The newly arrived COVID-19 vaccines will be given to the original target groups and extended groups according to their priorities.

Till 26 September, two million doses of COVISHIELD, 10 million doses of Sinopharm and two million doses of Sinovac purchased by the Ministry of Health, totalling 14 million have arrived in Myanmar. The people are urged to receive the COVID-19 vaccines, and those who have already received the first dose are encouraged to go to the nearest immunization centres and receive the second dose on the scheduled immunization date or near the due date, as well as to actively participate in the vaccination activities.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar aquaculture exports down by $66 mln this FY

The value of Myanmar’s aquaculture exports as of 10 September 2021 has dropped dramatically to US$742.7 million since 1 October 2020, falling short of $66 million to reach the value recorded during the year-ago period, as per the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar shipped $808.85 million worth of fishery products to the external market in the corresponding period of the last FY. Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) is attempting to grow fishery export regardless of the COVID-19 disruption on maritime trade, closure of land borders and fuel oil price instability due to Kyat depreciation. Despite the open season of offshore fishing, Myanmar’s fishery export industry is facing a series of challenges such as the oil price hike, surge in container shipping rate, the closure of border posts, disruption on maritime trade and the COVID-19 negative impacts.

Consequently, it will harm the export sector somehow in the long term. “If the border post resumes the trade activity, the trade will go smoothly. The closure of the border posts is triggered by the COVID-19 threats. The cross-border between Myanmar and Bangladesh is still open for trade. The federation is planning to export fishery products to Bangladesh. Myanma Port Authority is also ensuring smooth freight flow with non-stop operation. The federation is attempting to tackle this fishery export hurdles,” said Dr Toe Nanda Tin, senior vice-president of MFF. The price of fish fell by half. The high input cost such as fishing net, oil price posed another burden for the industry, coupled with the devaluation of Kyat in the forex market, Mawlamyine Commodity Centre stated.

The marketable fish products, especially fish, shrimp, eel and crab from Taninthayi and Ayeyawady regions and Rakhine State are primarily exported to foreign markets. The federation is turning to the Bangladesh market with export potentials. MFF is working together with the stockholders in the supply chain to have sustainable export growth. The fishery exports through the Sino-Myanmar border has ground to a halt following the consequences and safety measures on the imported seafood amid the COVID-19 pandemic, traders stressed. Myanmar’s fishery export was experiencing a downturn due to the import restrictions triggered by the detection of the COVID-19 on fish imports in China. Chinese market constitutes about 65 per cent of Myanmar’s fishery exports. China accounted for US$254 million out of overall fishery export value of $850 million in the past financial year 2019-2020. At present, China shut down the border areas in wake of the COVID surge in Myanmar.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines to ensure food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. The permitted companies are advised to carry out food safety plans, follow the guidelines of WHO and FAO, formulate the safety management system and suspend the exports if any suspicious foodborne virus or virus infection risk are found in the products. The export is likely to resume once the products meet food safety criteria set by the General Administration of Customs of the People Republic of China (GACC). Myanmar Fisheries Federation stated that only the G2G pact can tackle problems which faced in the export of farm-raised fish and prawns and ensure smooth freight movement between countries to bolster exports.

During the last FY2019-2020, MFF expected to earn more than $800 million from fishery exports and it reached a target. Myanmar exports fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, to markets in 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and countries in the European Union. The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farms that meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques. To ensure food safety, the foreign market requires suppliers to obtain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates. To meet international market standards, fishery products must be sourced only from hatcheries that are compliant with GAqP.

The MFF is working with fish farmers, processors, and the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation to develop the GAqP system. Processors can screen fishery products for food safety at ISO-accredited laboratories under the Fisheries Department. There are 480,000 acres of fish and prawn breeding farms across the country and more than 120 cold-storage facilities in Myanmar. Myanmar exported 340,000 tonnes of fishery products worth $530 million in the 2013-2014FY, 330,000 tonnes worth $480 million in the 2014-2015FY, 360,000 tonnes worth $500 million in the 2015-2016FY, 430,000 tonnes worth $600 million in the 2016-2017FY, 560,000 tonnes worth $700 million in the 2017-2018FY and 580,000 tonnes worth over $730 million in the 2018-2019FY respectively, according to the Commerce Ministry.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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16.7% coverage of COVID-19 vaccination in Myanmar

The COVID-19 vaccine is being given to 36.9 million people over the age of 18 in Myanmar, and 16.7 percent of the vaccinations have been completed so far, according to the Ministry of Health. 20% vaccine coverage by the end of September; Vaccination coverage is expected to reach 50 percent by the end of 2021 and 70 percent by mid-2022, with the current vaccination rate at 16.7 percent, according to the Ministry of Health.

As of September 21, 3.583 million people had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 2.575 million people who have been vaccinated once; A total of 6.1159 million people have been vaccinated and 9.742 million vaccines have been vaccinated, according to the Ministry of Health. Currently, 2 million Covishield vaccines purchased from India are available in Myanmar. 1.7 million donated vaccines; Two million Sinopharm (Beijing) vaccines purchased from China; Two million Sinovac vaccines; 0.5 million donated vaccines.

Of the 24 million vaccines purchased with the second donation, four million have been purchased and a total of 14.2 million vaccines have been delivered, according to the Ministry of Health. The COVID-19 vaccine will be given to priority groups as well as to ethnic armed groups and refugee camps, according to the Ministry of Health. The COVID-19 vaccine has been available in Myanmar since January 2021. The current vaccines in China are the COVID-19 vaccine, Sinopharm and Sinovac, which are WHO-approved emergency vaccines and can be given indefinitely for those over 18 years of age, according to the WHO guidelines.  

Source: Daily Eleven