Domestic palm oil prices up as global production down

Palm oil wholesale reference price up by K615, market price soaring

The wholesale reference price of palm oil in the Yangon market for a week ended 21 August 2022 is set at K4,140 per viss (a viss equals 1.6 kilogrammes), according to the statement released by Myanmar Edible Oil Dealers’ Association on 15 August. The wholesale reference price was set only at K3,525 per viss in the past two weeks (1 to 14 August). The figures showed a sharp increase of K615 per viss this week. Prior to the price hike, palm oil prices rose by K200 per viss in the markets, said Ko Myo, a trader who delivers commodities to the regions outside Yangon. On 15 August, the wholesale palm oil price was offered K9,400 per viss in the markets.

The number of sellers decreased, Ko Aung from the Nyaungpinlay market said. In early August, the consumers can buy palm oil at the retail reference price of K3,700 per viss through mobile markets. However, there is a mismatch between supply and demand. Consequently, the consumers are forced to purchase the palm oil at K10,000 per viss in the market, said a housewife Ma Myint Myint, a resident of Hlinethaya Township. I have to buy vegetable oil at K10,000 per 1.8-litre bottle, said Ma Khaing who is working in Lanmadaw Township.

Both the retail and wholesale prices are moving onwards. The wholesale price on 13 August soared to K9,000-9,100 per viss from K8,600 recorded on 11 August. On the morning of 15 August, palm oil transactions had not been made, said Daw Hlaing Win, a trader from Myingyan. Similarly, the palm oil price was estimated at K91,000 per 10-viss jerry can, indicating an increase of K2,000 per jerry can vis-à-vis the previous day. On 15 August, the price jumped to K10,000 per jerry can, she added. Companies are found to suspend the distribution of vegetable oil with different brands starting from early August. So, I just have to sell the remaining inventory, said Ko Maung Naing, a shopkeeper near the Sinmalaik Market in Kyimyindine Township.

Likewise, different brands of vegetable and palm oil are not on display at the shopping centre in Lanmadaw Township, unlike previous months’ store display. Ma Aye Aye from Lanmadaw muttered that I could not buy them accordingly. Only sesame, soybean, peanut and sesame oil are witnessed on the shelves of the centre. The price tags are K14,500 per viss of peanut, K12,000 for sesame oil, K10,000 for soybean oil, Ma Aye Aye continued. On 13 August, the wholesale prices of edible oil stood at K13,000-15,000 per viss of peanut oil, K9,500-10,000 each for sesame oil and sunflower oil and K7,000-7,500 for soybean oil, according to daily trade data released by the Mandalay Commodity Exchange. Before mid-August when the wholesale reference price was not that high, the wholesale price remained on an upward trend in the markets. Nevertheless, a hike in wholesale reference price this week posed difficulties to the buyers due to the skyrocketing edible oil prices.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Over 3,000 tourists visit Myanmar with tourist visas

More than 3,000 foreign tourists with tourist visas visited Myanmar between 25 May and 12 August, according to the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism. The tourists were from Thailand, Korea, India, Malaysia, Japan, Singapore, the US, Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka and Viet Nam, data showed.

Myanmar allowed the entry of foreign visitors on 20 May and the tourists entered starting that day and the visitors from Thailand made day trips. Moreover, over 20,000 foreign tourists with business visas entered the country within four months, according to data from the Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport.

Although the entry of tourists is allowed, over 400 local agencies has not renewed their licences. A total of 475 travel agencies including 43 outbound companies will be removed from the company registration lists if they fail to renew their licences, according to the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Fuel prices stable on high side

Fuel prices continued to spike in recent days and it is stable on the high side, according to the fuel price market. Fuel prices started to spiral on 8 August 2022. Between 13 and 15 August, the prices remained unchanged on the high side. The prevailing fuel prices stood at K2,320 per litre for Octane 92, K2,390 for Octane 95, K2,730 for premium diesel and K2,655 for diesel. The upward spiral of the fuel prices is attributed to the continuous depreciation of the Kyat against the US dollar. Despite the Central Bank of Myanmar’s reference exchange rate of K2,100, a dollar is valued at K2,900 in the grey market.

The Supervisory Committee on Oil Import, Storage and Distribution of Fuel Oil stated that surging fuel price is following an increase in the price index set by Mean of Platts Singapore (MOPS), the pricing basis for many refined products in southeast Asia. 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. Some fuel stations in regions and states are facing short supply and the fuel price skyrocketed.

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 than 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

Thai-Currency

Kyat extends slump against Thai Baht

Myanmar Kyat continues to spiral and the exchange rate against the Thai Baht touched a high of K80 in the local forex market, forex price data indicated. In early July, the exchange rate for a Thai Baht was valued only at K60, and 1,670 Baht was exchanged for K100,000. On 15 August, the Baht-Kyat exchange rate was 1/80 and 1,300 Baht was worth K100,000. The plunge in exports at the Myawady border post is a contributing factor to the slumping Kyat value. Thai Baht shortage in the border areas resulted in Kyat depreciation, traders on the Myawady border were quoted as saying.

Of the primary export items at the Myawady border post, corn exports drastically dropped. Although Myanmar earlier exported 150,000 tonnes of corn per month, only 30 per cent of that volume was delivered in July, said U Aye Chan Aung, chair of the Myanmar Corn Industrial Association. The directive released on 30 June said that transactions for the exports of agricultural products including corn, rice, bean and oil crops are to be made in dollars instead of Yuan-Kyat/Baht-Kyat.

Additionally, foreign currency earnings are set to be converted into local currency at the reference exchange rate of the Central Bank of Myanmar. However, there is a large gap between the regulated rate and the unauthorized rate. This action affected exports of agricultural products and trade dropped. Moreover, Myanmar’s imports on the Myanmar-Thailand border also nearly came to a halt due to the large capital input. Starting 13 August, the authorities concerned have been inspecting and interrogating some money changers accordingly.

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, 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 official directives, illegal foreign currency holding, illegal trade and taking legal actions against price manipulators.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar pharmacy body seeks prevention of medicine shortages

As the medicines and essential drugs prices become high in the market, arrangements are being made not to cause medicine shortages, according to the statement of the Myanmar Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Manufacturer Association released on 13 August. It said the association has imported the required medical supplies and urged the pharmaceutical companies, wholesalers and retailers to sell the medicines as usual.

As the prices of medicines become high continuously, the wholesale centres in the Mingala Market shut down as they cannot run properly, according to the sellers. With the changes in the exchange rate and import policy, medicine prices were on the rise starting in early August. The wholesale centres suspend sales and so the retailers face hardships, said Ko Min Min, a medicine dealer. “The prices are drastically high and they suspend the sale temporarily. If we now sell the medicines we bought before the prices were high, we face losses. The more we sell, the more we lose. We don’t get the amount that we want,” he said.

The demand for pain killers and drugs for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and for kids is on the rise and some medicines are out of stock. “The prices of medicine for diabetes and heart disease are higher about K1,000/1,500 than before per capsule card. We can’t predict how much the prices will go up. Some hospitals face shortages of medicine stocks,” said Daw Tin Win from North Okkalapa Township. The association also urged the entrepreneurs to import the required medicines and medical supplies as quickly as possible as the officials negotiated the proper medicine import policies.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar