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

5th Waxing of Tawthalin 1384 ME
30 August 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 August 2022 have
been extended until 30 September 2022 for prevention, control and treatment of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Fuel prices remain upward spiral, up by K750-1,100 per litre within month

The fuel prices are spiking and indicating a sharp increase of K750-1,100 per litre within one month, according to the fuel market. On 1 August 2022, the fuel prices in the Yangon market stood at K1,820 per litre for Octane 92, K1,890 for Octane 95, K2,195 for premium diesel and K2,135 for diesel. The prices jumped to K2,570 for Octane 92, K2,635 for Octane 95, K3,335 for premium diesel and K3,255 for diesel on 30 August, showing a rise of K745-750 per litre of Octane 92 and 95 and K1,120-1,140 per litre of diesel and premium diesel respectively. Fuel price spike made it difficult to create a better living, a taxi driver told the Global New Light of Myanmar (GNLM).

“Taxi fare was only K3,000 for a distance between downtown and Kyauktaing in Thakayta Township. Now, the rate has doubled. So, I have to take a bus,” said a company staff member. The Supervisory Committee on Oil Import, Storage and Distribution of Fuel Oil stated that domestic fuel prices is following the price index set by the Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), the pricing basis for many refined products in southeast Asia. The Central Bank of Myanmar raised the reference exchange rate for a dollar from K1,850 to K2,100, whereas the exchange rate against the US dollar hit over K3,500 in the grey market. Since early August, the fuel prices have gradually increased tracking the soaring safe-haven dollar value against the Kyat.

Consequently, some fuel stations in regions and states allegedly faced a shortage of supply. Nonetheless, some petrol stations are allegedly suspending fuel sales and setting limited sales on the possible shortage of fuel oil, sparking consumers’ concerns and raising fuel prices. They are taking advantage of the consumers’ concerns for their benefits, according to the statement released by the Central Committee on Ensuring Smooth Flow of Trade and Goods on 16 August. The committee has assured adequate fuel supply until this month. It is also working together with Myanmar Petroleum Trade Association to ensure a steady fuel supply in order for the energy consumers to mitigate concerns, the statement mentioned.

Therefore, the consumers can complain about halts in fuel sales and limited sales through the contact numbers of respective regions and states if they find those stations that violate the rules, the committee stated. 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. The Petroleum Products Inspection and Supervision 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 costs, premium insurance, taxes, other general costs and profit per cent.

The rates for regions and states other than Yangon are evaluated after adding the transport costs and retail reference rates daily cover on the state-run newspapers and are posted on the social 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 than Myanmar. However, Malaysia’s oil sector receives government subsidies and the prices are about 60 per cent cheaper than in 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


Trading activities temporarily closed at Wang Ding route

Traders said that the trading activities have been closed since 26 August due to the detection of the Covid-19 infection at the Wang Ding crossing in Kyinsankyawt on the China-Myanmar border. “Covid-19 infection has been found at Wang Ding. Trading activities have been closed temporarily,” a Mandalay-based rice trader said on his social media page. Wang Ding is the only trading post on the Muse border that has the right to trade between China and Myanmar.

A merchant said that due to the detection of Covid-19 infection in Wang Ding, China-Myanmar border, Ward (1) was placed under lockdown and the Shweli-Wang Ding Bridge was also temporarily closed. As for the trucks that have arrived in Wang Ding, they are going through the border post regularly and will be medically checked on 27 and 28 August 2022. If no more infections are found, the Shweli-Wang Ding Bridge will be reopened, traders said.

China will suspend the entry and exit of trucks through the Wang Ding checkpoint, highway checkpoint, Jiangqiao checkpoint and Heishanmen checkpoint starting from 26 August over the discovery of the virus in the country, according to a businessman in the border area. China has closed the Muse border trade since 2020 because of the Covid-19 disease and only reopened the Wang Ding trade this year. According to the Ministry of Commerce’s statistics, China-Myanmar trade worth more than US$1 billion can be traded through the Wang Ding border. The Wang Ding route, which is currently closed by China, is used for trade and is the place where the alternative driver system is used. It is the main export route for Myanmar’s agricultural produce. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Thilawa SEZ attracts capital expansion of $100 mln in 18 months

The amount of total accumulated investment at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone by a total of 116 foreign enterprises was estimated at US$2.28 billion. From 1 February 2021, Thilawa SEZ recorded capital expansions of $100 million from one new enterprise and the existing enterprises.

Twenty-one countries made investments in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone under the Special Economic Zone Law, according to the Thilawa SEZ Committee. The new enterprise brought in $14 million at Thilawa SEZ. Moreover, 14 businesses also expanded.

The majority of them are engaged in cement and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Businesses in Thilawa SEZ were forced to stop in 2020 amid the pandemic. They have resumed their operations from 2021. At present, the manufacturing operations return to normal. Moreover, the construction of the SEZ is carried out with 15,000 workers for now. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Association’s restrictions on sesame exporters applying for export licences eased

Among the restrictions on corn, pulses, and sesame exporters, the matter of having to apply for an export licence has been eased, according to the, pulses and beans, maize and sesame producers on 27 August.
In the past, various pulses were exported abroad.

On 1 August, the Department of Trade issued a directive that licences will only be issued with the approval of thea Myanmar Pulses and Beans, Maize and Sesame Industry Association in order to obtain an export license for the export of sesame, oil crops, and pulses.

On 27 August, it was eased to apply for a licence without seeking the approval. The relaxation will start from 29 August and export licence applicants do not need to seek a letter of endorsement from the association.

In July, the Ministry of Commerce stressed that exporters of pulses, corn, sesame, peanuts and oilseeds will be allowed to export only if they can show the export incomes licence along with banking documents. In addition, exporters of sesame, all kinds of pulses, corn, and oilcrops through the border trade camps must make payments only in US dollars, and the export earnings must be exchanged at the Central Bank of Myanmar at its reference rate.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


YGEA decides on sales report with market price

Yangon Region Entrepreneurs Association (YGEA) agreed on 29 August 2022 to make a sales report according to the actual market price. The decision was made following the meeting of the Monitoring and Steering Committee on the Gold and Currency Market and also with the officials involved in gold refining businesses in Yangon, Mandalay and Mawlamyine cities on 27 August 2022. YGEA settled this under the guidance of the officials concerned, YGEA Chair U Myo Myint told the Global New Light of Myanmar (GNLM).

“Our association set the gold reference price calculated on the Central Bank of Myanmar’s reference exchange rate of K2,100 for a dollar, while the gold market price was determined on the exchange rate of K3,000 in the unofficial forex market. This action implied a transaction with the actual market price which was calculated on the dollar exchange rate over-the-counter-market as the retail shops are also making transactions with the market price instead, the GNLM quoted him as saying. Consequently, a market report to the related department must be done as per the actual market price.

“Earlier, YGEA created a voucher with the reference price. Traders can buy gold at the YGEA’s set price. However, they resell the gold at a higher price. Now, we will make a voucher using real data,” he continued. The authorities concerned also want the daily market report, he added. “Gold is locally mined. The officials want the real data for the gold transaction. It does not indicate taxation. The data on the amount of gold acquired by smelting and refining businesses will be forwarded to the related department,” U Myo Myint elaborated.

On 29 August, despite YGEA’s set price at K2,021,000 per tical (0.578 ounce or 0.016 kilogramme), pure gold fetched approximately K2.8 million per tical in the markets,” the association stated. The price rise is attributed to the Kyat depreciation against the safe-haven US dollar. The exchange rate against a US dollar is worth over K3,200 in the unofficial forex market. During the end of September 2021, a dollar value hit an all-time high of over K3,000 in the gold exchanges and consequently, the pure gold reached a high of K2.22 million per tical.

Under the guidance of the Central Committee on Ensuring Smooth Flow of Trade and Goods, the Monitoring and Steering Committee on the Gold and Currency Market was formed on 17 December 2021 as gold and currency market stability play a crucial role in trade facilitation. The objectives of the committee are inspecting and prosecuting market manipulation, checking if there is compliance with payment rules in the domestic market, and proceeding against those unscrupulous traders who intend to interfere with the free and fair operation of the market under the existing laws, by-laws and regulations in line with the official directives, illegal foreign currency holding, illegal trade and taking legal actions against price manipulators.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Palm oil wholesale reference price rebounds to nearly K5,000 per viss

The wholesale reference rate of palm oil in the Yangon market increased again to nearly K5,000 per viss, according to the Supervisory Committee on edible oil import and distribution. The Supervisory Committee on edible oil import and distribution under the Ministry of Commerce has been closely observing the FOB prices in Malaysia and Indonesia including transport costs, tariffs and banking services, and issuing the wholesale market reference rate for edible oil on a weekly basis. The reference rate of palm oil in the Yangon market for a week from 29 August to 4 September is set at K4,910 per viss, whereas the reference price for a week ending on 28 August was set at K4,860 per viss.

The figures showed an increase of K50 per viss. However, the current market price is higher than the reference rate. Despite the reference rate, the traders are found to raise the price to K10,000 per viss in the markets. To tackle this, mobile market trucks operated by oil importing companies, in coordination with the Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association, were back to business in some townships on 17 July in order to offer palm oil at a subsidized rate. They sell palm oil at K5,100 per viss to consumers directly. However, there are limited sources of supply although they directly sell the palm oil at a reference rate depending on the volume quota.

“The edible oil price is moving an upward spiral. We rush to queue to buy the oil when the mobile market trucks arrive in our ward,” a housewife said. If the retailers and wholesalers are found overcharging, storing inventory intentionally and attempting unscrupulous action to manipulate the market, they will face legal action under the Special Goods Tax Law, MoC released a statement. The Ministry of Commerce is striving for consumers not to worry over the supply of edible oil. The ministry is also trying to secure edible oil sufficiency, supervise the market to offer reasonable prices to consumers and maintain price stability. 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. To meet the oil sufficiency in the domestic market, about 700,000 tonnes of cooking oil are yearly imported through Malaysia and Indonesia. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


CBM combats against illegal foreign currency trading

Those online businesses involved in illegal foreign currency trading will face a strict action under the rules of the Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee, the Central Bank of Myanmar issued a notification on 27 August. Furthermore, unregistered social media sites spared public concerns with exaggerating messages for the fuel oil, exchange rate and foreign currency reserve. They posted highly exaggerated stories on social media stating that shortage of foreign currency will push the exchange rate to devalue the local currency rate and shortage of fuel oil will drive the price up.

The department concerned, fuel importers and banking institutions are working together on the fuel price to decline and easy process to get foreign currency. Therefore, the CBM’s statement mentioned not to worry about that and not to trust manipulators. Those online businesses executing illegal foreign currency trading will face legal actions under the existing rules of the committee. At present, Fed interest rate hike in recent days made the dollar strengthen. The exchange rate of other currencies against the safe-haven dollar is depreciating.

In a bid to strengthen the local currency and support economic growth, the governments of the world countries are governing the currency markets with fiscal policies, foreign reserve, tax exemption and increased government spending. Myanmar is also stepping up for economic growth and financial stability with trade and financial policies amid the fluctuation of global oil prices and global trade imbalance. The CBM set the reference exchange rate for the US dollar at K2,100, whereas the dollar is valued at over K3,000 in the unofficial FX market. The CBM has directed a 0.3 per cent trading band to fix the floor and ceiling exchange rates. However, there is a gap of K1,000 between the reference rate and unofficial rate in the local forex market.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


The new Sittwe Port, which is part of the Kelantan Multi-Use Transport Project (KMIT), will be opened soon and will be able to accommodate 5,000-6,000 ton ships

The new Sittwe Port, which is part of the Kelantan Multipurpose Transport Project (KMIT), will open soon and will be able to berth 5,000-6,000 ton ships, according to the Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In a meeting with Indian Consul General Mr. Bibekananda Bhattamishra and officials and officials of Rakhine State Chamber of Commerce and Industry on August 27, the Indian Consulate and KMTT port officials said the above. KMTT@kaladan, which has already been completed under the India-Myanmar Friendship Program.

The new Sittwe port of the Multi-Transit Transport project will be operational soon. 5000-6000 ton ships will be able to berth. He also accepted and welcomed the cooperation of the businessmen to start the operation of the port. If you need to contact us at any time, we welcome you. Creating employment opportunities; The Rakhine State Traders and Industrialists Association announced that the Indian Consulate and KMTT port officials said that they will work with Rakhine State merchants and industrialists to facilitate the systematic development of trade processes and information sharing.

At the invitation of Indian Consul General Mr.Bibekananda Bhattamishra, a dinner ceremony was held at Royal Sittwe Resort on August 27. U Shwe Maung, chairman of the Rakhine Coast Boat Owners Association, U Than Shwe, chairman of the Rakhine State Millers Association, and millers, U Khin Maung Gyi, Chairman of Rakhine Ethnic Entrepreneurs Association REA; U Kyaw Min Tun, Chairman of Rakhine Youth Entrepreneurs Association RYEA; Rakhine MSME Association vice president Daw Hema San and officials. It is reported that U Maung Win Che and officials from the Rakhine State Road and Highway Transport Association attended. On the Indian side, Mr. Tsewang Gyaltson, Indian Consul General and Economic Consul; Mr.Vikash Kumar Rai, Chief Officer of India-Myanmar Friendship Port KMTT Port Operator (AtoZ EXIM Company) and port officials. Officials of the Indian Consulate were said to have attended.

Source: Daily Eleven


Soaring fuel prices batter taxi drivers

On 25 August 2022, the retail price of fuel stood at K2,490 per litre of Octane 92, K2,570 for Octane 95 and K3,055 for diesel. The prices soared from K1,615 per litre of Octane 92 and K1,970 per litre of diesel recorded on 7 August. The figures showed an increase of K875 per litre and K3,972 per litre of Octane 92.
A taxi uses three gallons per day. The drivers face an additional cost of K12,000 per day, Ko Oo, a taxi driver from North Okkalapa Township told the Global New Light of Myanmar (GNLM).

Taxi drivers are struggling with the soaring fuel prices. They have to pay the bill to the owners to keep the taxi. When the price is up by K875 per litre in 20 days, their daily income declines by around K10,000, he added. It is hard for the taxi driver to raise the fare for the passengers as some of the drivers use gas. Meanwhile, other Octane-fueled taxi drivers cannot push the price up, the GNLM quoted U Kyaw Win, a taxi driver from Hlaing Township, as saying.

Gas-fuelled taxi drivers have to pay K16,000 to the owners per day while Octane-fuelled taxi drivers have to pay only K8,000. Although the taxi drivers who use Octane can save K8,000, the fuel price hike causes an extra cost of K25,000 per day, U Kyaw Win, an Octane-fuelled taxi driver continued. Those who own the taxi need not worry about that bill and they can run the taxi to cover the fuel price. Therefore, the taxi service hour is quite lower than those of the taxi drivers who do not own the vehicles, said Ko Than Win, an owner of vehicles near Sanpya Cinema. The Octane taxi drivers are expecting the price not to spike again.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar