Business Article


Monthly Business Brief, January 2023

February 1, 2023

Economy

During January 2023, the foreign exchange rate in the unauthorized market is around MMK 2,850 to 2,900 while the CBM’s reference rate is MMK 2,100, showing a large price difference of K700 compared to the unauthorized market rate.

The domestic fuel price is still high throughout January. On 20 January 2023, the prices of fuel oil were K2,200 per litre for Octane 92, K2,275 for Octane 95, K2,420 for diesel and K2,500 for premium diesel. Then on 28 January, the prices of fuel oil were MMK 2,275 per litre for Octane 92, MMK 2,355 for Octane 95, MMK 2,490 for diesel and K2,570 for premium diesel. The figures indicated an increase of MMK 70-80 per litre depending on the types of oil within one week. The rates for regions and states are way higher than Yangon since the costs are evaluated after adding the transportation cost.

Low and high grades of paddy fetch skyrocketing prices in January 2023. Low grade paddy like Thukha, Hnankar were traded with about MMK 1.5 million and high grade like Pawsan fetch MMK 1.7 to 2.2 million per 100 baskets (52 lbs).

Although production is lower than 2019 due to crises and electricity shortage problems, the world bank predicted Myanmar will achieve 3% growth in 2023.

Banking and Finance

Insurance market

The insurance market in Myanmar is profitable and growing but still at the nascent stage. More and more products are being introduced every year. People are becoming aware of the availability of insurance products as the agents get trained and push for sales. On the other hand, the insurance companies still need to build a good rapport and trust with the customers.

The most common one is the car insurance. Even though the payout ratio is 25 per cent on average across the industry, the car insurance payout is the odd one out with more than 50 per cent payout. Every car in Myanmar needs to have third-party liability insurance provided by Myanmar Insurance, at the time of vehicle license renewal. The cost is only around $10-$15 and the payout is only around $1,500 in the event of the death of a third party.

However, there is the downside of insurance market in here. That’s people are experiencing more insurance frauds at the same time. It is time the insurance industry starts keeping a record of insurance fraudsters so that honest policyholders do not have to subsidize the criminal actions of these few people. All entities and individuals are encouraged to buy coverage from licensed insurers within the country. The growth of the insurance market is taking much longer than expected so far.

At the current moment, more agents are being trained in both life and general insurances. The agents work under one-year contract committing themselves to the insurer. The companies acting as agencies with teams of agents are likely to appear in the foreseeable future. People are also considering the issue of inflation and insuring in a soft currency.

Trade

On 14 January 2023, trade activity at the Muse-Mang Wein on some Sino-Myanmar border, which have been closed down for three years, reopened. They will be accessible by road vehicles (trucks, vans, motorcycles) again. Additionally, the driver-substitution system will be abolished along with the reopening of the border crossings. However, only six-wheel trucks driven by Myanmar drivers are allowed to pass the Mang Wein crossing. Other trucks are still not given the green light. Passengers are not entitled to pass it as well. General cargo is allowed through Mang Wein gate to trade except agri, livestock, fruits and mineral products which can be traded through Jinsan Jao gate.

Investment

On 25 January 2023, the Yangon Region Investment Committee (YRIC) endorsed nine foreign enterprises and one domestic business in the power and manufacturing sectors, creating 4,300 jobs for residents. They will execute solar power projects, milling and production of sunflower oil and peanut oil, refining and production of palm oil, printing and dyeing enterprises, manufacturing of electrical appliances and production of footwear on a Cutting, Making, and Packing (CMP) basis.

Tourism

In Myanmar-Thai border, on 12 January 2023, operations were resumed at the Myawady-Mae Sot Friendship Bridge I after nearly three years of closure. Therefore, people can enter the Mae Sot side by passing that bridge with the border pass as before. For a border pass document, Myawady residents can apply for it by presenting a citizenship scrutiny card, household registration and three pictures of the licence-sized photo. Licenced private cars are entitled to go over the bridge and the passengers need to present COVID-19 vaccination certificates.

Tachilek-Mae Sai Friendship Bride I will be reopened soon, which was also closed for nearly three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Myanmar-China border gates in Nantaw and Sinphyu of Sino-Myanmar borders reopened on 25 January 2023, which have been closed down for three years.

Transportation

According to the Rakhine State Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the new Sittway Port, a transit transport project of Myanmar and India, will be opened soon. The new port is a multi-modal transit transport facility on the Kaladan River connecting Myanmar and India. Currently, the port is ready for the entry and exit of international ships and plans are underway to admit the local vessels.

On 21 January 2023, Mandalay-Mangshi direct flight has been resumed which operates three days a week. Ruili Airlines had temporarily suspended flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic but has launched weekly flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting from 21 January.

COVID

In order to continuously control the infection of COVID-19, announcement of the extension of the restriction of COVID’s rules and restrictions have been extended until 28 February 2023.

 

Bulletin

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