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Republic of the Union of Myanmar Announcement of Central Committee on Prevention, Control and Treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

3rd Waxing of Wagaung 1384 ME
30 July 2022

As it is necessary to continuously control infection of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), it is hereby announced that public requests, orders, notifications and directives (except for easing the restrictions) released by the Union-level organizations and Union ministries up to 31 July 2022 have been extended until 31 August 2022 for prevention, control and treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar’s foreign trade soars to $10.45 bln as of 22 July

Myanmar’s external trade between 1 April and 22 July of the 2022-2023 Financial Year (FY) tremendously rose to US$10.45 billion, reflecting a sharp increase of $2.066 billion as against the year-ago period, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The figures surged from $8.386 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Myanmar’s export was worth over $5.203 billion whereas, the country’s import was valued at $5.25 billion over the past two months. The border trade dropped owing to the red tape and China’s strict virus rules, with a decrease of $191.45 million as against the year-ago period. However, the maritime trade registered a significant rise of $2.257 billion in nearly four months.

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 more on the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. The Ministry of Commerce is focusing on reducing the trade deficit, export promotion, import substitution and market diversification. The external trade stood at $15.5 billion in the past mini-budget 2021-2022 (October-March) period and $29.58 billion in the 2020-2021FY as per the Commerce Ministry’s statistics. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Over 37,000 candidates eligible for Korean Employment Exam in August

More than 37,000 candidates have been eligible to sit for Korean Employment Exam to be held in August, according to the statement of the government’s foreign employment agency POEA-EPS. As of July 27, more than 37,000 eligible candidate names have been released, and the application for taking the exam has been accepted from 7 and 23 July. The remaining candidate names will continue to be released, and those who are eligible to take the exam must submit US$24 for registration fees, which can also be paid in Myanmar Kyats, the statement says.

The exam which will be held from 16 August to 15 October will be for manufacturing and construction workers, and the results will be released on 22 October. The exam for the agriculture and livestock workers will be held from 21 October to 23 December, with the result coming out on 31 December. The EPS-TOPIK qualification test which will allow working in the Republic of Korea through the Employment Permit System (EPS) has been held 13 times in Myanmar.

It is reported that workers who passed the exam are being sent to the Republic of Korea according to the schedule. They must pay K85,000 for the suits and service fees, along with K1,500,000 as a deposit. Of 3,900 qualified workers who have passed the exam, about a quarter was sent to the Republic during the post-COVID-19 period, from 1 January to 30 May 2022. Over the past year, 42,832 people who passed the EPS-TOPIK exam have been officially sent to South Korea, and about 27,000 Myanmar workers are working legally in the country. According to the Ministry of Labour, more people are willing to work in South Korea due to a minimum wage of up to 9,000 won per hour and clear laws for workers.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Trade via land borders earns $20.662 mln in first week of July 2022

From 2 to 8 July, a trade volume worth US$20.662 million was conducted from the Muse 105th-mile trade zone on the Myanmar-China border and the Kawthoung trade post on the Myanmar-Thailand border. The 105th-mile Muse trade zone on the Myanmar-China border has been able to export goods worth $12.065 million and import goods worth $5.467 million. Compared to the previous week, the volume of trade in the Muse 105th-mile trade zone decreased by $3.923 million in exports and $2.672 million in imports, and the trade volume decreased by $6.595 million.

The export this week included crab, eel, white sesame, pulp paper, dried chillies (stemless), turmeric (Shan), and arena nut (with shell) among others and the main exports such as rice, broken rice and beans decreased. As imports, more dry batteries, bicycle spare parts, medicines, and furniture were imported. Import value decreased because fewer corrugated iron sheets, kitchen appliances, tractors, light bulbs, and lamps were imported. Similarly, the Kawthoung trade post on the Myanmar-Thailand border was able to export goods worth $2.802 million from 2 to 8 July.

It is reported that the import value was $0.328 million and the trade volume was $3.13 million. In terms of exports, compared to the previous week, the main export items were various kinds of seafood and $0.202 million were earned more than the previous week. In terms of imports, compared to the previous week, although there were more imports of machinery and equipment, due to the decrease in the import of chemicals, plastic raw materials, detergents and other products, there was a decrease of $0.237 million. Compared to the previous week, the amount of trade decreased by $0.135 million, according to the Kawthoung trading post. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar ships 14,110 MT of rice in first week of July

Myanmar exported over 14,110 metric tons of rice worth US$5.247 million via the maritime route in the first week of July, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation-MRF.

For this week, Myanmar delivers rice to the Philippines most with over 11,270 tonnes while over 1,118 tonnes to China, 80 tonnes to Hong Kong, 24 tonnes to Singapore, over 640 tonnes to Italy, 377 tonnes to Germany, 500 tonnes to Poland and 100 tonnes to the Czech Republic.

The country earned about $0.899 million from the export of 2,560 tonnes of broken rice via the maritime route this week and exported 2,060 tonnes and 500 tonnes of broken rice to China and Belgium respectively. Myanmar received $6.146 million by exporting a total of 16,670 tonnes of rice and broken rice this week. Compared to the previous week’s export, it was more than $0.942 million and more than over 2,600 tonnes.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Domestic fuel prices up by K150 per litre within two days

The prices of domestic fuel prices increased by about K150 per litre of Octane 92 and Octane 95 within two days, according to the Supervisory Committee on Oil Import, Storage and Distribution of Fuel Oil. As per the retail reference rate issued by the Committee on a daily basis, oil prices stood at K1,665 per litre for Octane 92, K1,715 for Octane 95, K2,110 for premium diesel and K2,050 for diesel on 25 July. The prices jumped to K1,810 for Octane 92, K1,860 for Octane 95, K2,135 for premium diesel and K2,080 for diesel.

The price hike is followed by the price set by Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), the pricing basis for many refined products in southeast Asia. Singapore MOPS price has risen for now. The committee is governing the fuel oil storage and distribution sector effectively not to have a shortage of oil in the domestic market and ensuring price stability for energy consumers. Additionally, the Petroleum Products Regulatory Department, under the guidance of the committee, is issuing the daily reference rate for oil to offer a reasonable price to energy consumers.

The reference rate in Yangon Region is set on the MOPS’ price assessment, shipping cost, premium insurance, tax, other general cost and health profit per cent. The rates for regions and states other than Yangon are evaluated after adding the transportation cost and the retail reference rates daily cover on the state-run newspapers and are posted on the media and official website and Facebook page of the department on a daily basis starting from 4 May. As per the statement, 90 per cent of fuel oil in Myanmar is imported, while the remaining 10 per cent is produced locally. The domestic fuel price is highly correlated with international prices.

The State is steering the market to mitigate the loss between the importers, sellers and energy consumers. Consequently, the government is trying to distribute the oil at a reasonable price compared to those of regional countries. Some countries levied higher tax rates and hiked oil prices compared to Myanmar. However, Malaysia’s oil sector receives government subsidies and the prices are about 60 per cent cheaper than that of Myanmar. Every country lays down different patterns of policy to fix the oil prices. Myanmar also poses only a lower tax rate on fuel oil and strives for energy consumers to buy the oil at a cheaper rate. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar’s CMP export earns some US$400 mln in March, increasing by $135 mln year on year

Myanmar earned about $404 million from the garment export in March 2022 increasing by $135 million compared to the same period last year, according to the Central Statistical Organization of the Ministry of Planning and Finance. In March 2022, the garment exports earned $403.8 million while $268 million in March 2021. This year earned $135.8 million more than the same period of the previous year.

The country earned $217.2 million from garment exports in February 2021 while $268 million in March, $238.7 million in April, $278.5 million in May, $319.3 million in June, $310.7 million in July, $424.5 million in August, $378.3 million in September, $302.9 million in October, $337.9 million in November, $414.3 million in December, and $ 410.3 million in January 2022, $360.6 million in February and $403.8 million in March.

In the 2019-2020FY, the country earned nearly $4.8 billion from garment exports and the amount decreased by more than $63 million compared to the same period, according to the ministry’s figures. The CMP sector ranks first in the investment sector in three months of this FY. It creates job opportunities for most locals and there are 671 CMP factories/industries in the country. The Myanmar citizens make investments in CMP such as garments, shoes, bags and wig factories and the Chinese, Korean and Japanese invest in that sector most.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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K400 billion to be disbursed at soft interest rate

The Minstry of Planning and Finance stated that a plan is underway to disburse K400 billion to local businesses at soft interest rate. According to the press release issued on 23 July, Union ministers and region/state governments are systematically spending the national natural disaster management fund on undertakings of the Covid-19 prevention, control and treatment under the permission of the Covid-19 prevention, control and treatment national central committee.

Till 14 July 2022, the remainng amount of the fund totalled K491.978 billion. Now, as the infection rate of the pandemic much declienes, efforts will be made for surging the State economy in all aspects, according to the press release.

K400 billion from the fund will be disbursed to local businesses at soft interest rate under the supervision of the Ministry of Planning and Finance. According to the Ministry of Health, 11 patients was found with positive result in laboratory test over 3,907 lab samples from 8 pm on 23 July to 8 pm on 24 July, with 0.28 per cent of infection rate.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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CBM stops rumour of reimplementation of FEC system

Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) denied spreading rumour of reimplementation of Foreign Exchange Certificate which was earlier abolished, according to a notification released by the CBM on 22 July. The Foreign Exchange Management Law was enacted in 2012 and amended in 2015 and 2021 respectively.

Provisions regarding functions and responsibilities of the CBM for forex management, foreign exchange activities, holding foreign currencies and opening forex accounts, the use of Kyat during international transactions, activities of the authorized money changers, purchase, sales and import/export of gold and jewellery, ordinary account and large account transactions are put in to this law.

Therefore, there is no provision related to the issue of FECs in the CBM’s tasks enacted in this law. This being so, reimplementation of the FEC system is just a groundless rumour. The CBM stated that there is no plan to implement this system again according to the Foreign Exchange Management Law.

Additionally, all the foreign currency earned by locals have to be exchanged for local currency at the Central Bank of Myanmar’s reference rate of K1,850 by opening the accounts at the authorized dealers in the country within one working day, according to the CBM’s notification (12/2022) released on 3 April.

The CBM further released a statement concerning companies or institutions that are exempt from this action. Those companies exempted from this have to convert the foreign currencies into local currency at the authorized dealers. Moreover, the CBM denied another baseless rumour of seizing foreign currencies of the foreign account holders (companies, institutions and individuals).

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Driver-substitution system via Muse to China cuts transport costs, yet export declining

Myanmar trucks are allowed to border-crossing through Muse to China under the driver-substitution system, cutting transport costs. Nevertheless, the country’s export sees a downtick. Between 1 April and 8 July in the current financial year 2022-2023, Myanmar exported US$447.692 million worth of goods to China through the Muse border post. The figures drastically plummeted from $710.653 million recorded in the corresponding period last FY. There is a drop of $175.05 million in exports over the Q1 this year.

Prior to 16 May, China banned Myanmar trucks and drivers to enter its side owing to the COVID-19 restrictions and only Chinese short-haul drivers were allowed to transport the goods. This causes the problem of delays and bulk supply owing to the lack of Chinese short-haul truckers, prompting the operators to charge the transportation rate to exorbitant prices. As a result of this, the cost of Chinese short-haul trucking tremendously rose to K10 million, whereas the trucking was worth only K700,000-800,000 when Myanmar truckers were allowed to enter China.

Myanmar trucks are given the go-ahead for border-crossing through the Kyinsankyawt-Wang Ding trade channel out of Muse border points under the driver-substitution system starting from 16 May 2022, said U Min Thein, vice-chair of the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. “The truck transport rate is affordable for now. Earlier, the freight rate was over K10 million for a truck carrying 1,000 rice bags (50 tonnes each). After 16 May, China gave the green light to the driver-substitution system and the transport cost is estimated at only K1.3 million,” U Min Thein elaborated.

“Nonetheless, it will take some time to go back to normality in the Muse border post,” U Min Thein added. China shut down all the checkpoints linking to the Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed trading activity from 26 November on a trial run. Myanmar daily delivers rubber, green gram, chilli pepper, onion, mango and other food commodities to China through the Kyinsankyawt post. Myanmar has opened five border trade camps with China – Muse, Lweje, Kampaiti, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung. The majority of the trade is carried out through the Muse land border, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar