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Covid restrictions to be eased for travellers to Myanmar via int’l flights

The rules and regulations for COVID-19 will be relaxed for travellers to Myanmar via international flights starting from 1 December, according to the Ministry of Health.
The local infection rate has declined and the positivity rate has reached below one per cent for 14 consecutive days, it is learnt.
Before, the travellers were required to show COVID-19 vaccination record cards as proof of being fully vaccinated or the RT-PCR negative test results within 48 hours. And then they would have to take the RDT test at the airport.
Now, the restrictions to take tests with RDT will be relaxed for travellers to Myanmar starting from the morning of 1 December, according to the announcement of the Health Ministry.
The details will be published in “Public Health Requirements for Travellers who Wish to Enter Myanmar through International Commercial Flights” on 1 December.
In addition, the public health requirements for travellers by relief flights and travellers via land borders will remain the same as the requirements were released on 8 October 2022, it is learnt.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar foreign trade surges to over $21.46 bln as of 18 Nov

MYANMAR’s external trade between 1 April and 18 November of the current financial year 2022-2023 tremendously edged up to US$21.468 billion, reflecting a significant increase of $3.9 billion from the year-ago period, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The figures surged from $17.55 billion in the corresponding period last year.

Myanmar’s export was worth over $10.427 billion whereas the country’s import was valued at $11 billion over the past seven and a half months. The border trade was up by $89.595 million, while the seaborne trade registered a significant rise of $3.8 billion. Myanmar exports agricultural produce, 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 trade deficit but export promotion, import substitution and market diversification. The external trade stood at $15.5 billion in the past mini-budget 2021-2022 (Oct-March) period and $29.58 billion in the 2020-2021 FY, as per the Commerce Ministry’s statistics.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Singapore tops FDI ranking in Myanmar in past seven months

Fourteen Singapore-listed enterprises pumped in foreign investments of US$1.154 billion into Myanmar in the past seven months (April-Oct) of the current financial year 2022-2023, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration’s statistics showed. Singapore companies mainly put investments into urban development, real estate, power and manufacturing sectors. Hong Kong SAR stood as the second largest investors this FY with an estimated capital over $163 million by 11 enterprises and the existing ones.

China is ranked third in the investment line-up with more than $90 million from 22 businesses and the existing ones. One enterprise each from Belize, China (Taipei), the Republic of Korea and Japan also made investments in the past seven months respectively. The existing enterprises from China (Taipei), China, Hong Kong SAR, the Republic of Korea, India, Bangladesh and Seychelles also increased the investments. Myanmar attracted foreign direct investments of $1.45 billion from 52 enterprises during April-October period. Majority of the investments brought into the manufacturing sector. Agriculture sector drew $3.5 million from two projects.

Power sector received $817 million from 10 projects, while one enterprise put $29 million in the real estate sector and two other foreign enterprises made an investment of $413.068 million in the service sector respectively. The mining sector earned $7 million from one project, while one enterprise also put investments of less than a million into the hotels and tourism sector and some capital expansion of the existing businesses are also seen. Additionally, the livestock and fisheries sector saw a capital expansion of $1.545 million.

Myanmar has drawn foreign direct investment of more than $647.127 million from 49 enterprises in the past mini-budget period (October 2021-March 2022), according to the statistics released by the DICA. Singapore stood as the largest foreign investor in Myanmar in the previous years, pulling in the FDI of  $1.85 billion in the FY 2019-2020, $2.4 billion in the FY 2018-2019, $724.4 million in the mini-budget period (April-September, 2018), $2.16 billion in the 2017-2018 FY, $3.8 billion in the 2016-2017 FY, $4.25 billion in the 2015-2016 FY, $4.29 billion in the 2014-2015 FY, $2.3 billion in the 2013-2014 FY and $418 million in the 2012-2013 FY respectively. Additionally, Singapore emerged as the second largest foreign investor in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, after a top investor Japan.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Kyat-Dollar exchange rate slides to K2,800

Kyat-US Dollar over the counter rate dipped to K2,800 in the local forex market, the money changers said.
Last August, the dollar hit K4,500 in the grey market. At present, the dollar was exchanged at K2,860 for buying and K2,880 for selling. However, the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) set the reference exchange rate at K2,100. To strengthen the domestic currency in the local forex market, the CBM set the currency trading band at 0.3 per cent for the Kyat to fluctuate between these two specified upper and lower exchange rates for transactions, selling or buying, according to a directive issued by the CBM on 10 August 2022.

Therefore, financial institutions including banks and informal money changes are instructed to set a dollar value at K2,100 for buying and K2,106 for selling. Yet, trading with those specific rates is not seen in the market. Last August, a dollar value hit a peak of over K4,500 in the black market, pushing pure gold up to a record high of K3.7 million per tical. Consequently, the CBM sold dollars at its auction market for the sectors in need, to control the soaring dollar. A total of $443.8 million were sold at an auction rate in 2021 as well. At the end of September 2021, the dollar value hit a high of over K3,000, resulting in a record high of the pure gold price at 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 Gold and Currency Market was formed on 17 December 2021 as gold and currency market stability play a crucial role in the 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

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Myanmar daily conveys seafood from Taninthayi Region to Thailand

Myanmar daily delivers clam, mollusc, snail and scorpion prawns produced by the Taninthayi Region to Thailand, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Seafood is popular in Thailand and it plays a major role in Thai cuisine. Tourists visiting Thailand also enjoy seafood. Therefore, the demand for popular Myanmar Shak (aka) clam, mollusc, snail and scorpion prawns is on the rise.

Myanmar sends over ten four-wheel truckloads of clams from Taninthayi to Thailand through the Mawtaung border and it fetches 91.94 Thai Baht per kilogramme. The clams are offered at a high price among the seafood. It is easy to digest. People enjoy clams by boiling, cooking or roasting them. Additionally, snails are also a popular food among seafood in the Myeik area, Taninthayi Region.

People cook sea snails in different cuisines including one with coconut milk. The snails are priced at 2.5 Thai Baht per kg. Approximately 300-500 kg of snails is daily delivered to Thailand through the Mawtaung border with three to five trucks. Furthermore, king prawn is highly demanded. The prevailing price of king prawns is 1,121.85 Thai Baht per kg. About 500 to 1,000 kilogrammes of scorpion prawns are exported to Thailand with eight to 12 four-wheel trucks every day. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Weekly market update of dry groceries

During the week ending 22 November, Yangon’s Bayint Naung Wholesale Market saw an entry of newly harvested monsoon onions and Chinese onions and old summer onions. Chinese onions flowed into the markets at a cheaper rate. Although the wholesale reference price of palm oil increased, the market price and the delivery order price declined. The prices of black gram and pigeon peas also decreased.
Onion
On 22 November, 120,000 visses of onions from various regions flowed into the Yangon market.
The prices of old summer onions stood at K3,000-K4,400 per viss of onions from the Seikphyu area, K3,800-K4,800 from the Myingyan area and K2,200-4,200 from the Myittha area, whereas Chinese onions moved in the range between K2,600 and K3,400 per viss.
Garlic
The wholesale prices of the Kyukok garlic variety were K3,325 per viss on 22 November, while the local garlic from Shan State (Aungban area) moved in the range between K2,900-K3,900 per viss.
Potato
New Chinese potatoes entered the Yangon markets at cheaper rates, with K1,900 per viss of Chinese potatoes. Old Chinese potatoes were priced at K2,400 per viss while the local potato from Shan State (Aungban area) was valued at K1,900-K2,150 per viss.
Chilli pepper
Monsoon chilli pepper price dipped. The Yangon market saw a large supply of chilli peppers from various regions.
On 22 November, the wholesale prices of chilli peppers were K17,000-K17,300 per viss of Shan long chilli pepper, K16,500 for the Indian Moehtaung variety. The bell pepper from Shan State fetched K21,000 per viss. The long chilli peppers processed at cold storage were priced at K21,000 per viss and the bell peppers were valued at K31,000 per viss.
Palm oil
The wholesale reference price of palm oil in the Yangon Region this week was up by K30 per viss compared to the last week’s price. The reference price for a week from 21 to 27 November was set at K4,380 per viss.
Consequently, the wholesale prices of palm oil barrels were K5,600-K5,750 per viss on 22 November.
Rice
On 22 November, glutinous rice prices were K95,000-K98,000 per viss. The prices of high-grade Pawsan stood at K85,000-K94,000 per bag from the Shwebo area, K62,000-K67,000 from Pathein/Myaungmya areas and K58,000-K62,000 from the Pyapon area, while the prices of other rice varieties were K49,000 of short-mature rice (90 days), K46,000 for rice grown under the intercropping system and K42,000-K43,000 for monsoon low-grade rice.
Pulses
The prices of various pulses stood at over K1,726,000 per tonne of black gram (Fair Average Quality/RC), K2,036,000 per tonne of black gram (Special Quality/RC), K1,895,000 per tonne of pigeon pea (red gram) RC and K4,100-K4,300 per viss of chickpea on 22 November.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar registers trade deficit of $678.226 mln as of 11 November

Myanmar’s trade gap widened to US$678.226 million between 1 April and 11 November of the current financial year 2022-2023 compared to the year-ago period. Higher exports and lower imports resulted in a trade surplus of $315.991 million in the corresponding period of the 2021-2022FY, according to data provided by the Ministry of Commerce. While exports were estimated at $10.072 billion, imports were valued relatively low at $10.751 billion over the past seven months.

Compared to the FY2021-2022, exports showed an increase of over $1.376 billion, while import value was up by $2.37 billion. Myanmar’s maritime trade value edged up to $16 billion over the past seven months from $12.29 billion recorded in the same period last year yet the country witnessed a small drop of $62.637 million in border trade as cross-border trade with the main trade partner China has not returned to normal amid the strict virus policy.

Myanmar exports agricultural produce, 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 trying to reduce the trade deficit by screening luxury import items and boosting exports. The country mainly imports essential goods, construction materials, capital goods, hygienic materials and supporting products for export promotion and import substitution. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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MoC issues export licence for rice to be shipped to Bangladesh under MoU

The Ministry of Commerce has granted an export licence for 191,700 tonnes of rice that will be shipped to Bangladesh according to the agreement between the two countries. As per the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the rice trade, 48 companies, under the supervision of the Myanmar Rice Federation, are to export 200,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh with Chinese yuan payment between October 2022 and January 2023. Following the contract, white rice (ATAP) GPCT Broken STX variety will be delivered.

The FOB prices were 2.78856 Yuan per kilogramme and 2788.56 Yuan per tonne. The Export/Import division of the Trade Department issued over 534 million Yuan worth 42 export licences for 41 companies to convey 191,700 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh. Myanmar and Bangladesh inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rice trade in September this year. According to this MoU, Bangladesh has agreed to buy 250,000 tonnes of white rice and 50,000 tonnes of parboiled rice from Myanmar between 2022 and 2027. Under the MoU, Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food and MRF signed a sales contract for 200,000 tonnes of Myanmar’s white rice to be exported to Bangladesh.

As per the sales contract, Myanmar has shipped over 20,000 tonnes of white rice to Bangladesh till 31 October 2022. The remaining will be delivered before the deadline. Since 7 September 2017, Myanmar and Bangladesh have engaged in rice trade under the government-to-government pact. That MoU stated that Bangladesh has agreed to buy Myanmar’s white rice (250,000 tonnes) and parboiled rice (50,000) tonnes between 2017 and September 2022. Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Food and MRF signed the sales contracts as per the MoU and Myanmar sent 100,000 tonnes of rice to Bangladesh each in 2017 for the first time and 2021 for the second time, as per the sales contract. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar manufacturing sector attracts $179 million in past seven months

A total of 35 foreign enterprises pumped US$179 million into Myanmar’s manufacturing sector in the past seven months (April-October) of the current financial year 2022-2023, including capital expansion by the existing enterprises, as per the statistics released by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). Myanmar attracted foreign direct investments of $1.45 billion from 52 enterprises during April-October period. The majority of the investments brought into the manufacturing sector. Agriculture sector drew $3.5 million from two projects.

Power sector received $817 million from 10 projects, while one enterprise put $29 million in the real estate sector and two other foreign enterprises made an investment of $413.068 million in the service sector respectively. Mining sector earned $7 million from one project, while one enterprise also put investments of less than a million into the hotels and tourism sector and some capital expansion of the existing businesses are also seen. Additionally, the livestock and fisheries sector saw a capital expansion of $1.545 million.

The manufacturing enterprises and businesses that need a large labour force are prioritized to create job opportunities for the local community, according to Myanmar Investment Commission. Although some labour-intensive enterprises faced financial hardship amid the COVID-19 negative impacts and the political changes, the industry is now returning to normal after the COVID-19 vaccination programme for the workers, as per the HIS Markit’s September report. In a bid to boost factory productivity with a healthy workforce in the garment industry, Mobile Medical Check to garment workers took place in Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw, supported by UNICEF Myanmar.

Moreover, Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association has organized Labour Law Awareness and WCC Training since July 2022, with the support of the UNICEF Myanmar. It aims to provide the soft skills needed for industrial development and create a better workplace for garment workers. Additionally, the association launched voluntary labour compliance assessment-VLCA Online System in November 2022. Myanmar’s manufacturing sector is largely concentrated in garment and textiles produced on the Cutting, Making, and Packaging basis, and it contributes to the country’s GDP to a certain extent. Myanmar has drawn foreign direct investment of more than $647.127 million from 49 enterprises in the past mini-budget period (October 2021-March 2022). Of them, 40 foreign enterprises put investments in the manufacturing sector, pumping the estimated capital of $202.667 million.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Sino-Myanmar major border crossing Kyalgaung yet to resume even after over 18 months

Kyalgaung border post, which performed the majority of trade between Myanmar and China, has not resumed even after one and a half years, said U Min Thein, vice chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre.
China has restricted border access through the Muse-Kyalgaung (Mang Wein) border post between Myanmar and China amid the COVID-19 cases, since 30 March 2021. On 18 October, Myanmar’s officials and counterparts from Dehong, Yunnan Province negotiated the promotion of bilateral cross-border trade through a video conferencing.

“The Kyalgaung border crossing is yet to resume. We are ready for trade resumption,” said U Min Thein. Prior to the pandemic, Kyalgaung was the busiest and biggest trade post and it performed the highest trade in the China-Myanmar border. Those traders involved in Muse trade zone are relying on the Ruili city. There is a direct trade channel to Ruili through Kyalgaung point so the traders have a smooth transport. This route brings easier and better access to Ruili from Muse border post. Only when the Kyalgaung border post is reopened can the trade boost, traders elaborated.

China shut down all the checkpoints linking to Muse border amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the checkpoints, Kyinsankyawt has resumed trading activity from 26 November 2021. Myanmar daily delivers rice, broken rice, rubber, fishery products, chilli pepper and other food commodities to China through Kyinsankyawt with the use of about 70 trucks and building materials, electrical appliances, pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, household goods and industrial raw materials are imported into the country with the use of 30 trucks. Myanmar has opened five border trade zones with China; Muse, Lweje, Kanpaiti, Chinshwehaw and Kengtung. The majority of the trade is carried out through Muse land border, Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar