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Business conditions within Myanmar’s manufacturing sector have declined for three consecutive months, with employment declining for the first time in eight months

Business conditions in Myanmar’s manufacturing sector declined for three consecutive months, with employment declining for the first time in eight months, according to the S&P Global Myanmar Manufacturing PMI for July 2022. In July, business conditions in Myanmar’s manufacturing sector have been declining for three consecutive months. In addition, the rate of decline was faster than the rate experienced in June. A sharper decline in production and new orders partly drove the strong decline. It also reported that sector-wide hiring declined for the first time in eight months.

In terms of prices, production costs and sales prices, which saw inflationary pressures calm significantly in July, continued to increase overall. The key S&P Global Myanmar manufacturing PMI, a composite index of manufacturing performance, fell to 46.5 in July from 48.2 in June, showing conditions in the sector fell for three consecutive months. Furthermore, the rate of decline was seen as the fastest since October 2021.

Production volumes fell at a faster pace in July and the rate of decline in factory orders accelerated. Members often stressed that buyers’ financial constraints put pressure on new order acquisition. In addition, ongoing material shortages and rising supplier costs have further reduced production volumes and even resulted in temporary factory shutdowns on occasion. Firms cut their workforce in July as production demand eased. The rate of job cuts was modest, but it ended seven straight months of rising hiring rates.

Most firms reported no changes in staffing levels, but those that did reduce staffing indicated that this was linked to salary dissatisfaction among staff and a decrease in order intake. “Buyers’ financial constraints; Product shortages and rising supplier costs are linked to a faster decline in both production and new orders. Also, the number of employees decreased for the first time in eight months, and purchasing activity declined at a faster rate,” said Maryam Baluch, economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Source: Daily Eleven

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Importers restricted access to purchase dollar at regulated reference rate, Trade Dept notifies

Importers are excluded from access to buy hard foreign currency at the regulated reference rate of the Central Bank of Myanmar, Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce released a notification on 1 August. Importers involved in cross-border trade with dollar settlement are barred from buying the dollars through Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee when an import licence is granted. Pharmaceutical companies can seek import licences if they can purchase the dollars on the over-the-counter market in their own ways, according to a notification released by the Trade Department on 22 July.

Pharmaceutical importing companies must submit a report to the Health Department through Myanmar Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturer Association to seek import licences. After scrutinizing them, the ministry will forward them to Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee. To cut possible delays and ensure decent stocks for consumers, they can also use the black-market dollar for payment instead of buying from formal markets at the regulated reference rate. A letter of commitment signed by a company director has to be submitted to Myanmar Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturer Association and then, it will proceed to the Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee.

The committee will make a list of those companies that do not buy dollars through official exchanges and send the list to the Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce so that the department can grant import licences to those companies, without a Delivery Order. However, those entitled companies that can purchase dollars at the reference rate have to go with normal work procedures. At present, despite the governance on the outflow of foreign exchange, imports surpassed exports in the past four months of the current financial year 2022-2023, the Commerce Ministry’s statistics showed. In the past four months, exports were valued at US$5.2 billion, while import value hit $5.25 billion, indicating a trade deficit of over $46 million.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Palm oil wholesale reference rate set at K3,525 per viss

The wholesale reference rate of palm oil in the Yangon market for this week ended on 7 August is set at K3,525 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes), 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 25 to 31 July is set at K3,665 per viss. Therefore, the reference rate is down by K140 compared to last week’s rate. However, the market price is higher than the reference rate. Mobile market trucks operated by 11 companies, in coordination with Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association, were back to business in some townships starting from 17 July in order to offer palm oil at the subsidized rate of K3,800 per viss to the consumers. However, there are limited sources of supply although they directly sell the palm oil at a reference rate depending on the volume quota.

If those 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 the 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 a reasonable price to the consumers, maintain price stability and prevent market manipulation. 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 from Malaysia and Indonesia.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar