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Muse trade almost halts due to COVID-19 resurgence

The trade between Myanmar and China through Muse border ground to a halt as China tightened the border security and made policy changes in light of the COVID-19. China temporarily shut down Mang Wein and Chinshwehaw checkpoints in early April. Myanmar’s Muse border trade came to a standstill following the closure of the Mang Wein border checkpoint triggered by the detection of the coronavirus cases in the border area, according to the Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. On 29 March, one Myanmar citizen who tested positive for COVID-19 was found in Kyalgaung gems stone market.

It prompted China to restrict border access at the Mang Wein checkpoint, a major border crossing between Muse and Kyalgaung areas. Consequently, there is no trade flowing in and out of the country via the Muse-Mang Wein border. Furthermore, trade through the Kyinsankyawt border, a major checkpoint for fruit exports, is down by 80 per cent, said the traders. The closure of the Mang Wein checkpoint wreaked havoc on the Muse trade. The trade value through Muse land border plummeted to US$2.529 billion between 1 October and 16 April in the current financial year 2020-2021 from $2.738 billion recorded in the corresponding period of last FY, the Ministry of Commerce’s data showed. Suspension in border trade caused a negative impact on perishable fruits.

The policy changes in China’s border exacerbated Myanmar’s exports amid the COVID-19 resurgences, said a Muse trader. Prior to the Mang Wein checkpoint closure, Myanmar daily sent about 2,000 tonnes of rice and 40,000 tonnes of broken rice bags to China. At present, Myanmar’s rice export to China through the Muse land border has stalled amidst the coronavirus concerns. This Mang Wein post plays a pivotal role in trading between Myanmar and China. Myanmar exports rice, broken rice, onion, chilli pepper, pulses and beans, food commodities and fishery products to China. In contrast, electrical appliance, equipment, medical device, household goods, construction materials and food products are imported in the country via Mang Wein. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, about 500 trucks were daily flowing in and out of the Myanmar-China border Mang Wein.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar-India border trade up by $84 mln this FY

Border trade between Myanmar and India hit US$160 million as of 16 April in the current financial year 2020-2021 ending September, said a statistical report of the Ministry of Commerce. The figures reflected an increase of $84.62 million as against a year-ago period.

The Myanmar-India total border trade during the period was shared by Myanmar’s export of $160.086 million and its import of $0.811 million. Myanmar conducts border trade with neighbouring India through Tamu, Reed, and Thantlang border posts. Between 1 October and 16 April in the current budget year, trade values have registered at over $31.46 million at Tamu and $129.44 million at Reed.

There was no trade recorded at the Thantlang post. Myanmar exports mung beans, pigeon peas, green grams, areca nuts, ginger, saffron, turmeric, bay leaves, fishery products, fruits, and vegetables to India. At the same time, it imports pharmaceuticals, oil cakes, electronic appliances, motorbikes, steel and other construction machines and building materials from the neighbouring country.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Kyaukpyu soft-shell crab penetrating foreign market

The soft-shell crab cultivation business in the farms of No. 468 block in Kyaukpyu Township, Rakhine State is thriving and those crabs are started to distribute in the external market, said a breeder. They started this commercial farming in March 2019, with 250,000 crabs. They buy the young crabs from the wild, select the live crab and separate them in the crab farming boxes.

The crabs are fed fish, caught by the inshore and offshore fishing vessels, every six hours with the use of bamboo rafts. The soft-shell crabs of marketable size are sent to the cold storage for processing and they are, again, delivered to Yangon. Then, they are shipped to Asian countries with a container. The current difficulties in crab farming is a financial constraint amidst the COVID-19 impacts. Another problem is a limit in cash withdrawal at the bank and we are in debt to secure the raw material supply.

Kyaukpyu district head of the Fisheries Department U Kyaw Sint stated that the business employs about 110 local people, with a maximum monthly payment of K500,000. To maintain the soft-shell crab resources in a long term, we will direct the businesspersons to set some of the crabs free into the sea in a certain season. The soft-shell crabs from Kyaukpyu Township are being shipped to Asian countries such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, China Taipei (Taiwan) and Hong Kong SAR, Southeast Asian countries like Viet Nam and some European countries.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Sesame market shows downticks on low foreign demand

THE sesame market is sluggish, and the price remains bearish in April-end, traders from the Mandalay market said. The market of edible oil crop has been slow-moving prior to the Chinese New Year festival. The market continues facing slow-down owing to heightened border security amid the COVID-19 resurgences, a trader said. The prices of white and brown sesame varieties have remained stable on the back of domestic demand. At the same time, there is low demand by foreign market. However, the price of black sesame seeds (Samone variety), which is primarily shipped to external markets, slightly declines.

On 4 February, the FOB prices of sesame stood at US$2,000-2,100 per metric tonne of Black sesame (Samone variety), $1,250-1,300 per metric tonne of white sesame and $1,150-1,200 per metric tonne of brown sesame. On 29 April, the black sesame price dipped to $1,900-2,000 per metric tonne. The white sesame is pegged at $1,200-1,300, and brown sesame fetches $1,100-$1,200, Bayintnaung wholesale market stated. Last year, the sesame prices dropped by over 20 per cent compared with the prices in the previous years due to the COVID-19 negative impacts. Consequently, the growers do not make a significant profit this year, a trader from the Mandalay market stressed.

Typically, Myanmar exports about 80 per cent of sesame production to foreign markets. China is the primary buyer of Myanmar sesame, which is also shipped to markets in Japan, the Republic of Korea, China (Taipei), the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Poland among the EU countries. The EU markets prefer organic- farming sesame seeds from Myanmar, said an official from the Trade Promotion Department. Japan prefers Myanmar black sesame seeds, cultivated under good agricultural practices (GAP), and purchases them after a quality assessment. Black sesame seeds from Myanmar are also exported to South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, China buys various coloured sesame seeds from the country.

This year, Japan has not purchased Myanmar’s sesame yet. Sesame is cultivated in the country throughout the year. Magway Region, which has gained a reputation as the oil pot of Myanmar, is the leading producer of sesame seeds. The seeds are also grown in Mandalay and Sagaing regions. Of the cooking oil crops grown in Myanmar, the acreage under sesame is the highest, accounting for 51.3 per cent of the overall oil crop plantation. The volume of sesame exports was registered at over 96,000 tonnes, worth $130 million, in the financial year 2015- 2016; 100,000 tonnes, worth $145 million, in the FY2016-2017FY; 120,000 tonnes, worth $147 million, in the FY2017-2018; 33,900 tonnes valued at $43.8 million in the 2018 mini-budget period, 125,800 tonnes, worth $212.5 million in the FY2018-2019 and over 150,000 tonnes of sesame, worth $240 million in the previous FY2019-2020, the trade data of Central Statistical Organization indicated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Announcement on Extension of the Precautionary Restriction Measures Relating to Control of the COVID-19 Pandemic until 31 May 2021

  1. With a view to the further strengthening of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Union
    of Myanmar has issued the following announcements regarding temporary entry restrictions for visitors from all countries. All those restrictions were extended
    until 30 April 2021 by the Ministry’s announcement dated 31 March 2021.
    (a) Announcement dated 15 March 2020 regarding precautionary measures for all travellers visiting Myanmar;
    (b) Announcement dated 20 March 2020 regarding additional precautionary measures for travellers visiting Myanmar and temporary suspension of issuance of
    visa on Arrival and e-visa;
    (c) Announcement dated 24 March 2020 regarding additional precautionary measures for travellers from all countries visiting Myanmar;
    (d) Announcement dated 28 March 2020 regarding temporary suspension of all types of visas (including social visit visas) and visa exemption services.
  2. In order to continue its effective response measures to protect the population of the country from the risks of importation and spread of the COVID-19, the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has decided to extend the afore-mentioned entry restri ction measures until 31 May 2021.
  3. In case of urgent official missions or compelling reasons, foreign nationals, including diplomats and United Nations officials, who wish to travel to Myanmar by
    available relief or special flights, may contact the nearest Myanmar Mission for possible exception with regard to certain visa restrictions. However, all visitors
    must abide by existing directives issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports relating to the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Nay Pyi Taw

Dated, 30 April 2021

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Central Bank of Myanmar Press Release

30 April 2021

  1. Efforts were made to regularly apply the monetary systems and applications that bank and mobile monetary service providers operate through the Internet during the period of temporarily interrupting the mobile Internet. The Central Bank of Myanmar has announced some banks that can provide services to customers on 29 April.
  2. Currently, UAB Bank, Myanmar Apex Bank, Nay Pyi Taw Development Bank, Asian Green Development Bank and Shwe Rural and Urban Development Bank can give the following services — account to account transfer, wallet to wallet, bank to bank and CCT functions of CMB Net of the Central Bank of Myanmar to the public with the use of mobile banking, Internet banking, mobile top-up, other cards top-up, bill payments, Visa/Master credit card payment, MPU cards, all ATMs and Bank Pay.
  3. Mobile monetary service providers, namely Wave Money, OK$, M-Pitesan, MyTel Pay and MPT Money, are giving their services as usual for a mobile top-up, wallet to wallet, bank to the wallet, wallet to the bank, air time top-up, and merchant cash in/cash out.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Rice export through Muse border comes to abrupt halt

Myanmar’s rice export to China through the Muse land border has stalled amidst the coronavirus concerns, said U Min Thein, vice-chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. The abrupt halt in border trade came after one Myanmar citizen tested positive for COVID- 19 was found in Kyalgaung precious stone market on 29 March. That prompted China to restrict border access at the Mang Wein checkpoint, a major border crossing between Muse and Kyalgaung areas.

After the closure of the Mang Wein checkpoint, exports of Myanmar’s kitchen crops such as onion and chilli, various pulses and beans, rice and broken rice, and the fishery products were totally suspended. Consequently, rice and broken rice inflow to Muse border was not seen either. During the first wave of coronavirus pandemic, the driver substitution system helped lessen the impact on border trade. Even the truck cannot enter the border posts, which makes 100 per cent market collapse in Muse border.

Therefore the traders are urgently calling for the reopening of the Man Wein post at the soonest. Myanmar Rice Federation stated that Myanmar had shipped US$275 million worth of more than 720,000 tonnes of rice and broken rice to foreign countries in Q1 (1 October and 15 January) of the current financial year 2020-2021. The border trade handled over 308,000 tonnes of rice, while maritime trade covered over 418,000 tonnes in Q1. Myanmar generated over $800 million from rice exports in the previous FY2019-2020 ended 30 September, with an estimated volume of over 2.5 million tonnes.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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US$300 million worth fish auction market project to be implemented in Myeik

A fish auction market project in Myeik with an investment of some US$300 million will be implemented as earlier as possible, said an official from the Myeik Public Corporation. The market will be built on Kyweku-Kyaukphya river bank in Myeik town, Myeik District of Taninthayi Region. The new fish auction market project will include constructing a jetty to load and unload the fish, along with the structure of a residential area. The project has been delayed before, and it will now be undertaken as promptly as possible.

The project can bring revenue to the country and create job opportunities for the locals. Phase 1 of the project is to build a jetty to charge and discharge the fish cargoes and make cold storages. In contrast, Phase 2 of the project will cover the construction of the factories to manufacture finished products from raw materials. Phase 3 of the project comprises the construction of the residential areas. And, Phase 4 involves the building of expansion facilities to support the factories.

Concerning the project, a proposal has been submitted previously. But, the project has yet to complete, and a new proposal has been submitted again. The project will be implemented on a 700-acre plot of land. The Union minister and officials will come to inspect the project area, the Myeik Public Corporation official elaborated. Although the fish auction market project was proposed to carry out on 2,000 acres of land, now it will be built on 700 acres of land if the permit is granted. Upon completing the project, the fish market could be taken back from Thailand, where the Myanmar fish market has externally existed for more than 20 years.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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YGEA urges members to run cash only for gold transaction

Yangon Region Gold Entrepreneurs Association (YGEA) has called for the members to make the gold transaction with only immediate cash payment. That move will regulate unsustainable rally in the gold market and urge the members to run a cash only for gold transaction in the same regions and states in order to avoid the verbal transactions over calls, said U Myo Myint, chair of YGEA. For instance, a purchase via Mawlamyine, Mandalay, and Pathein over a phone call is unaccepted. Only the transaction with immediate payment in Yangon Region is allowed to avoid unsustainable and unsafe rally.

Last 24 April, YGEA held the meeting, highlighting the stability of the gold market, running cash only for the gold transaction and make a analysis on market rumours. The price of domestic yellow metal reached K1,453,000 per tical on 26 April, tracking the positive international trends. The gold price was ranged between K1,316,000 per tical (28 January) in the minimum and K1,336,000 per tical (6 January) in the maximum. It reached an all-time high of K1,410,000 per tical on 3 February and hit the minimum of K1,340,000 per tical on 2 February. The rate fluctuated between the highest of K1,391,000 (25 March) and the lowest of K1,302,000 (4 March), the gold traders said.

According to gold traders, the local gold reached the lowest level of K1,310,500 (2 September) and the highest level of K1,314,000 (1 September). In October, the rate ranged between K1,307,800 (30 October) and K1,316,500 (21 October). The rate fluctuated between the highest of K1,317,000 (9 November) and the lowest of K1,270,000 (30 November). In December, the pure yellow metal priced moved in the range of 1,280,000 (1 December) and 1,332,000 (28 December). With global gold prices on the uptick, the domestic price hit fresh highs last year to reach K1,000,000 per tical between 17 January and 21 February. It crossed K1,100,000 (22 June to 5 August), climbing to over 1,200,000 (7 August-4 September), and then reaching a record high of K1,300,000 on 5 September 2019.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Pigeon pea price in bull market

THE pigeon pea (red gram) price continues rising from early April, and it surged to above K94,5000 per metric tonne in the fourth week of April. The pigeon pea price was on the rise in March-end 2021 amid the low yield and the dollar gain. The pigeon peas market saw a slight upward trend in price along with the appreciation of US dollar against Kyat, according to the domestic market. The gram fetched up only K837,500 per tonne in early February. The price in April-end showed a remarkable increase of K 100,000 per tonne as against February’s rate. The traders set the selling price at K 88,000-90,000 per three-basket bag in the Mandalay market. The majority of them accept only immediate cash payment.

The pigeon pea market remains bullish even after the Thingyan holidays (13-19 April), a trader from the Mandalay market shared his opinion. Myanmar’s pigeon peas are primarily shipped to India and exported to Singapore, the US, Canada, Pakistan, the UK, and Malaysia. But, the export volume to other countries rather than to India is extremely small. More than 249,245 tonnes of various pulses and beans were exported to foreign markets between 1 October and 4 December of the current financial year2020-2021, with an estimated value of US$217 million. Of them, the pigeon pea export account- ed for 83,758 tonnes, generating an income of $57.94 million, the Commerce Ministry’s data indicated. The domestic bean market is positively related to the law of supply and demand.

Since 2017, India has been setting import quota on beans, including black grams and pigeon peas. Therefore, the growers face difficulties to export their beans to the Indian market. India’s move to restrict importation of pulses in August 2017 severely affected growers in Myanmar. The price of pulses also drastically plummeted. In the 2017-2018 FY, over a million tons of black grams, pigeon peas, and green grams were shipped to foreign countries. Nevertheless, the earnings have registered at just $713 million owing to the price drop. Myanmar shipped over 1.6 million tonnes of different varieties of pulses, especially black grams, with an estimated worth of US$1 billion, to other counties in the FY2018-2019. During last FY2019-2020 ended 30 September, the country delivered 1.6 million tonnes to the external market, generating an export value of $1.195 billion.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar