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Natural gas exports top $3.5 bln last FY

MYANMAR’S exports of natural gas in the past financial year 2019-2020 amounted to US$3.5 billion, the Commerce Ministry’s data showed. The figures plunged from $3.88 billion registered in the FY2018-2019, as per Commerce Ministry data. Natural gas is included in the list of major export items of Myanmar. Over 10 per cent of the country’s total export earnings
come from the sale of natural gas.

There are 53 onshore blocks and 51 offshore blocks, totaling 104 blocks. A total of 25 onshore blocks and 31 offshore blocks are operating under foreign investment. Natural gas extraction is being made at the Yadana, Yedagun, Shwe, and Zawtika offshore blocks as well as onshore drilling blocks. Yearly extraction is elevated to cubic feet in 670.36 billion from 600 billion this year, according to the fourth-year performance statement of the Ministry of Electricity and Energy. The Shwe natural gas field, located offshore from Rakhine State, was discovered in 2014. Natural gas extracted from the Natural gas export of Myanmar has fetched US$3.5 billion in the past financial year.

The Yadanar natural gas project is being carried out by the TOTAL Company, with its pipeline supplying natural gas to Thailand. Natural gas is also extracted in Yedagun, located offshore from Taninthayi and discovered in 1992. The Zawtika Project in the Gulf of Moattama mainly supplies natural gas to neighbouring Thailand. Production at Yadana and Yedagun is declining, and those projects will be halted in the coming years.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Import of sesame and raw peanuts threatens domestic prices

Mandalay wholesales of sesame seeds and raw peanuts have raised objections to a company’s application for a permit to import these two products, saying this must not be allowed since it will place downward pressure on domestic prices and impact local farmers. U Chun, Chair of the Mandalay Wholesale Center, met with executive members, merchants dealing in sesame seeds, beans and pulses, and edible oil millers on November 16 to discuss the issue of import and re-export of sesame seeds and raw peanuts on CMP (cut, make, pack) basis by the company in question.

The imports and re-exports under CMP will be tax exempt and prices will therefore, be cheap. Myanmar peanuts are mostly exported to China and with competition from cheap imports, the local prices will drop. If this happens, the farmers will be badly affected. However, should they export to other countries, then there is no problem. Sesame seeds and raw peanuts from China, India, Vietnam and Africa are already cheap, and with no taxes, the prices will be even lower, and hence, capture market share from local producers. Myanmar’s sesame seeds are pricier because of their superior quality, being organically produced with natural fertilizers, with good potential of higher demand and better prices in international markets. The country’s produce is exported to niche markets like Japan and the EU.

Local peanuts have a better taste and prices are 100 Yuan more than peanuts from China, and 200 Yuan more than Indian peanuts. Current prices of sesame seeds have dropped by K20,000 per bag of 45 viss, and peanut prices by K300 per viss, during this week. Such price fluctuations can be damaging for local growers. Past experience has shown how re-exports adversely impact domestic prices. The re-export of sugar had led to a drop in its price from K1400 per viss to K800. Zero taxes for imports, if they are re-exported, makes this option lucrative though it harms local growers’ interests. At this stage it is important to protect local farms and ensure price stability.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Myanmar exports over 160,000 tonnes of rice as of 6 November

THE volume of rice and broken rice exported between 1 October and 6 November in the current financial year 2020-2021 reached 163,413 metric tons, worth over US$60.67 million, according to an announcement from the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Maritime trade constitutes 54.9 per cent of rice exports, generating $33 million from over 89,764 tonnes of rice, while border trade accounts for around 45 per cent of the total rice exports. Rice
exports through the land border have generated an estimated income of $27.55 million from over 73,649 tonnes of rice. Myanmar’s rice is shipped
to 26 foreign countries in October 2020. MRF expected to ship 2.4 million tonnes of rice, and broken rice in the last FY ended 30 September 2020.

The country surpassed the export target, sending over 426,611 metric tons to neighbouring countries through border trade and over 2.15 million tonnes of rice and broken rice to foreign trade partners via maritime trade, totalling over 2.58 million tonnes. A surge in rice export through sea trade was contributed to meeting year’s export target, MRF stated. Myanmar targets to export 4 million tonnes of rice and broken rice in the current financial year 2020-2021, said U Aung Than Oo, vice president of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Myanmar shipped 3.6 million tonnes of rice in the FY2017-2018, which was an all-time record in rice exports. The export volume plunged to 2.3 million tonnes, in the FY2018-2019. Yangon gold merchants seek large-scale trading permit around 100 trucks of watermelons and muskmelons could pass through Kyin San Kyawt border checkpoint. The inspection at China’s checkpoint takes longer for drivers beginning from 16 November, and only 50 trucks can enter border crossing. If around 200 watermelon/muskmelon trucks enter the Muse land border, the traffic congestion will worsen.

Muse depot traffic control is monitoring the trucks at its upmost, said the owner of Khwar Nyo Fruit Depot. The prices of watermelon move in the range of 4,500-6,000 Yuan per tonne on 17 November, while muskmelon is priced 4,000-5,800 Yuan per tonne. The COVID-19 resurgence in Myanmar directly affected the border trade, and some truck drivers have tested positive for the coronavirus. As China is tightening the border security to contain the spread of COVID-19, it caused the delay in trade. Earlier, trading was conducted in Muse border. The COVID-19 conditions blocked Chinese traders to come. As China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19, the driver substitution policy has been exercised on Muse, Mang Weing and Kyalgaung border route, said chair of Muse-Namkham Chamber of Commerce. Myanmar exports more than 800,000 tonnes of watermelons and 150,000 tonnes of muskmelons every year. Workers load sacks of rice onto a truck in Yangon.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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UK opens door to Myanmar avocado

MYANMAR has successfully delivered avocado to the UK’s market on trial, according to the press statement issued by the Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in London on 14 November. Amara Variety (local variety), Hass and Buccaneer varieties were placed on the UK’s market in the previous week, under the programme of Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association (MFVP). Freshpro Imports Limited distributed them through the wholesalers of London and Sheffield cities. It has earned good reviews from the consumers. Myanmar Embassy in London has been exploring the markets for potential Myanmar products in the UK in line with the government’s policy, especially prioritizing the agricultural products and new local products. Additionally, Myanmar Embassy, in coordination with the British Chamber of Commerce, will hold a webinar on 19 November for Myanmar exporters regarding the agricultural exports to the UK.

Myanmar is exporting the avocado to China and Thailand through the land border. However, there is no guarantee, and the price is relatively low. Therefore, official trade pacts with China and Thailand are required for Myanmar’s avocado exports, said U Lin Thant Aung, secretary of MFVP. Furthermore, he suggested that the government form a committee including all the stakeholders such as the growers, processors, exporters in the supply chain, intending to facilitate the trading. He also made a further request for the high government officials to suggest Myanmar’s avocado during their foreign visits. Myanmar currently exports 5,000-10,000 tonnes of local avocado varieties to Thailand and China through the land border. Those varieties fetch between K800 and K1,000 per kg, MFVP stated. Meanwhile, around 3,000 tonnes are yearly sold in the domestic market. The demand is high when there is an increase in tourist arrivals. The avocado is primarily grown in Chin Hills, Shan highland, Nawnghkio and PyinOoLwin areas, having around 25,000 acres.

There are thousands of Myanmar avocado varieties, and the avocado of foreign origins are also found. Myanmar’s avocado is abundant in October and the harvest season extends up to April. Myanmar prioritizes the fruit quality that meets international market standards for market potentials. Efforts are being undertaken to legally export Myanmar’s avocado to more foreign UK opens door to Myanmar avocado. A woman grower is picking Myanmar avocado. The peanut from India is about US$100 cheaper than those in China. Furthermore, as it will be produced on a CMP basis, the tax exemption is also requested. Myanmar grants tax-exempt on raw material import if the goods are exported with a few exceptions. Myanmar’s peanut is priced K3,200 per viss (a viss equals to 1.6 kg), while the peanuts from China fetches K2,400 per viss. Myanmar’s peanut is of high quality with the use of natural fertilizer. Myanmar peanuts are offered 200 Yuan higher than those produced in China.

The import news drove the price cool, and the buyers are closely
observing the market. Myanmar shipped over 150,000 tonnes of sesame in the previous financial year 2019-2020, generating an export value of US$240 million, the Commerce Ministry’s data showed. 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, South Korea, China (Taipei), 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. For the current budget year 2020-2021, Myanmar traders target to export over 130,000 tonnes to foreign partners, traders from Mandalay market said. 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 metric tons, worth $130 million, in the financial year 2015-2016; 100,000 tonnes, worth $145 million, in the 2016-2017FY; 120,000 tonnes, worth $147 million, in the 2017-2018FY; 33,900 tonnes valued $43.8 million in the 2018 mini-budget period, and 125,800 tonnes, worth $212.5 million in the 2018-2019FY, the trade data of Central Statistical Organization indicated markets in 2023. Myanmar Avocado Producers and Exporters Association was established in 2018, with 800 members.

Source: The Global New Night of Myanmar

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Muse trade dives by $353 mln amid COVID-19 resurgence

The value of Myanmar-China border trade through Muse land border plunged to US$264.46 million over the first months of the current financial year 2020-2021 owing to the impacts caused by the COVID-19 resurgence. The figures reflect a decrease of $353.5 million compared to the corresponding period of the previous budget year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Exports through Muse border were worth $126.136 million, while imports were valued at $138.32 million between 1 October and 6 November 2020. During a-year ago period, Muse border post witnessed trade worth $617.976 million.

Muse border checkpoint is an essential one in Myanmar and handles an enormous volume of trade. But at times, it has experienced a sharp drop in business on account of China clamping down on illegal goods, resulting in a halt in trading of agricultural products. Moreover, the COVID-19 impacts slow the trade this year. Following the COVID-19 consequences, trading via Muse did not reach a monthly target of above $400 million in the previous months this year. Myanmar intended to reach the trade target of over $5 billion through Muse for the last FY. However, only $4.8 billion worth goods were traded. Border trade values at Muse stood at $5.4 billion in the 2016-2017FY, $5.8 billion in the 2017-2018FY and $4.9 billion in the 2018-2019FY respectively, as per data of the Commerce’s Ministry. At present, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19. Therefore, Chinese buyers do not come to Myanmar border crossings in light of COVID-19 fears, forcing Myanmar truck drivers to leave for Wanding area to sell the goods.

Following the detection of COVID-19 cases in Ruili (Shweli), China shut down its Customs office from 15 September, and it was reopened on 22 September, said U Min Thein, vice-president of Muse rice depot. On 9 November, some people tested positive for COVID-19 were found. The traders are worried about the possible lockdown and the closure of crucial Customs office in China like before. The trading is still open for now. Yet, the temporary trade suspension will harm the traders a lot during the meantime, the traders stressed. Myanmar exports agricultural products, including rice, beans and corns, and fishery products such as crab, prawn, etc. Furthermore, Myanmar’s natural gas export to China is also conducted through Muse-Ruili border. The raw CMP materials, electrical appliance and consumer goods are imported into the country.

  Source- The Global New light of Myanmar

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Myanmar goods trade deficit with Singapore estimated at $10.7 bln in 4 years

MYANMAR trade deficit in goods with Singapore was estimated at US$10.72 billion in the past four years, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with Singapore topped $15.46 billion between the FY2016-2017 and the FY2019- 2020 (as of August). The CSO reported that imports surpassed exports in trade with Singapore in the past four years, with exports reaching over $2.37 billion and imports valued at over $13.09 billion.

Singapore is Myanmar’s second-largest trading partner in the region, after Thailand. It accounted for 10.56 pc of total trade in FY2016-2017 with an estimated trade value of $3.4 billion, 11.59 pc in FY2017-2018 with a trade value of $4.15 billion, 9.98 pc in the FY2018-2019 with $3.5 billion and 12.76 pc in the FY2019-2020 (Oct-August) with $3.64 billion respectively. Myanmar exports agricultural products such as broken rice, pulses, sesame seeds, onion, footwear, textiles and clothing, minerals, and other products to Singapore.

At the same time, it imports plastic, fuel oil, edible oil, transport equipment, chemical elements and compounds, wheat flour, pharmaceutical products, dairy product and consumer products. Next, Singapore is the top source of foreign direct investments into Myanmar in the incumbent government period, bringing in the capital of $10.9 billion by 124 Singapore-listed enterprises, according to data released by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). Singapore companies put investments into urban development, real estate, power and manufacturing sectors.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Export rice prices slide in October

The prices of rice in the export market slightly decreased in October owing to the coronavirus impacts, as per data of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). In October, the export prices of white rice (low quality), broken rice and parboiled rice slipped compared to September’s rate. The prices moved in the range of US$330-415 per tonne of white rice depending on quality, $220-310 per tonne of broken rice and $440-485 per tonne of parboiled rice, indicating a slight decrease compared with the previous months.

Consequently, the price of low-quality rice, which is primarily exported to foreign countries, also dropped by K1,000-3,000 against last month’s rate in the domestic market. Following the coronavirus resurgence in Myanmar, high-quality rice (Shwebo Pawsan variety) was highly demanded in the domestic market. The domestic retail market in October saw a significant rise to K57,000 per 108-pound bag from K50,000 registered in September.

Ayeyawady Pawsan variety was priced K36,000 per 108-pound-bag in the domestic market last month, while low-quality rice fetched K21,500-23,700, MRF data showed. The export price of Myanmar’s rice is relatively lower than in other Asian countries such as Thailand and Viet Nam. Yet, the prices are higher than those market prices of India and Pakistan, MRF’s data showed. Next, the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar Inspection and Testing Service (MITS), the authorized organization of the State and MRF implemented rice reserve scheme on 30 April. The state’s emergency rice reserve is to ensure food security, keep the price stable in the domestic market, continue to export them regularly and lessen the worries of the consumers during the COVID-19.

There is self-sufficiency in the domestic market, and people do not need to concern over the shortage of rice. A total of 321,771 bags (108 pounds per bag) from reserved rice have been sold between 10 July and 26 October 2020. MRF will sell up to 1 million bags of reserved rice. About 678,229 bags are left to sell, MRF data showed. Additionally, the volume of rice and broken rice exported between 1 and 16 October in the current financial year 2020-2021 reached 35,637 tonnes, worth over US$14 million, as per MRF’s data.

MRF expected to ship 2.4 million tonnes of rice, and broken rice in the last FY ended 30 September 2020. The country surpassed the export target, sending over 426,611 metric tons to neighbouring countries through border trade and over 2.15 million tonnes of rice and broken to foreign trade partners via maritime trade, totalling over 2.58 million tonnes. A surge in rice shipping through sea trade was contributed to meeting year’s export target, MRF stated. Myanmar targets to export 4 million tonnes of rice and broken rice in the current financial year 2020-2021, stated U Aung Than Oo, vice president of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Myanmar shipped 3.6 million tonnes of rice in the FY2017-2018, which was an all-time record in rice exports. The export volume plunged to 2.3 million tonnes, in the FY2018-2019. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Watermelon growers encouraged to switch to potential crops

THE Department of Agriculture is enticing watermelon growers to turn to other crops which have market certainty, said U Win Hlaing Oo, head of Sagaing Region Department of Agriculture. The number of watermelon growers has dropped by 75 per cent due to price instability and transport difficulties. They are encouraging them to switch to other crops. As there is no contract farming of watermelon, the growers will definitely suffer a loss when the price drastically plunges.

The Agriculture Department is providing necessary technical assistance to the growers, yet it urges them to choose other crops which have the potential market. The watermelon cultivation is lucrative. However, large investment capital, market uncertainty and high quality standards of products set by the traders are posing difficulties to the growers, industry sources said. At present, China’s tightened border control amid the coronavirus pandemic is causing transport problems. With price instability and market uncertainty, coupled with the high quality standards, the growers have to struggle very hard. It is said that watermelon production has fallen by 60 per cent since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Agriculture Department is demonstrating how to grow high yield wheat in Paukin area, in coordination with the Korea International Cooperation Agency. Their department is encouraging the growers to cultivate wheat while some are also planning to grow black bean and pigeon peas this winter. Watermelon prices jumped from around 1,300 to over 4,000 Yuan per tonne this year and about 20 to 30 truckloads of watermelons are daily sent to China at present.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar-Thailand trade tops $20 bln in past 4 years

The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with neighbouring country Thailand in maritime trade and border trade was estimated at US$18.865 billion in the past four financial years, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The ministry reported that exports surpassed imports in trade with Thailand in the past four years, with exports reaching over $10.731 billion and imports valued at over $8.13 billion. Between 2016-2017FY and 2019-2020 (as of August), Thailand has been Myanmar’s largest trade partner among the ASEAN states, followed by Singapore and Malaysia.

Thailand accounted for 14.45 pc of total trade in 2016-2017FY with an estimated trade value of US$4.6 billion, 15.54 pc in 2017-2018FY with a trade value of $5.57 billion, 15.55 pc in 2018-2019FY with $5.46 billion and 13.92 pc in 2019-2020FY (Oct-April) with $3.15 billion respectively. Exports of natural gas from Taninthayi Region has contributed to the enormous increase in border trade with Thailand in the previous year. This year, corn exports to Thailand rose significantly compared with the earlier years, the Ministry of Commerce stated. Myanmar primarily exports natural gas, fishery products, coal, tin concentrate (SN 71.58 per cent), coconut (fresh and dry), beans, corns, bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, garment, footwear, plywood and veneer, broken rice and other commodities to Thailand. It imports capital goods such as machinery, raw industrial goods such as cement and fertilizers, and consumer goods such as cosmetics, edible vegetable oil and food products from the neighbouring country.

Myanmar is carrying out border trade with the neighbouring country Thailand through Tachilek, Myawady, Myeik, Mawtaung, Hteekhee, Kawthoung and Maese border areas respectively. Among them, Hteekhee performed the most extensive trade in border trade with Thailand, followed by Myawady. Nevertheless, the surge in coronavirus cases in Myanmar led Thailand to close the border areas. Consequently, the trade via land border sharply fell in the current FY 2020-2021. Apart from its leading trade partner China, Myanmar’s external trade was mostly carried out with the regional trade partners. Trade with countries in the European Union, however, remained uncompetitive, compared with regional trade partners. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar traders suffer loss as China suspends marine products imports

CHINA halted fisheries products imports through Muse land border effective 15 October, causing losses for Myanmar traders, industry sources
said. Myanmar traders export the frozen fish and live fish, crab, eel, long-finned eel and other fisheries products to China through Muse land
border. During the last financial year ending on September 30, a total of 128,067 tonnes of fisheries products, w3ith a total value of US$170.735 million, were exported through Muse. In the FY2018-2019, the figures stood at $128.429 million with 102,018 tonnes. Therefore, the export value saw an increase of $42.306 million, and the volume was up by over 26,048 tonnes in the past FY.

Ribbonfish, Katla, white pomfret, silver pomfret, yellow pike conger, white croaker, soldier croaker, yellow croaker, Ilish, loach, mackerel and pufferfish, and pink, white, Vannamei and Tigers prawn, dried shrimp, squid and salted fish are exported to China. Myanmar’s fish exports to China in June-August dropped. It was attributed to the fights in the Shan State during August and fishing banned season. During the early outbreak of COVID-19, trade flow was steady. During the exemption period of advanced income tax on exports, the export amount increased. At present, the export volume of live crab dropped by $5.966 million worth over 1,875 tonnes, and the export volume of live eel plunged by $6.929 million worth 1,735 tonnes compared to a year-ago period. However, the country saw an increase of 24.791 million (8,617 tonnes) in fish exports, $4.537 million (919.68 tonnes) in prawn exports, and $25.494 million (20,059 tonnes) in other fishery products exports against last year, data of the Fisheries Department (Muse) showed.

The suspension in fishery export does not concern with Chinese authorities. The trade is temporarily halted among the traders of China. Prawns exported to foreign countries, of which more than 4,000 tonnes of prawns are sent to the Japanese market. They notified the local traders of trade suspension in advance. On 5 October, China stopped frozen fish purchase and so did the crab and eel on 16 October. Only dried fish and prawn are flowing into China through its Mang Weing border. Chinese traders have not informed when they will be back into the business. The eels are stockpiled at the depot. Some even experience capital loss. Some local traders also stopped buying the eel. The trade will return to normal once trade with China is opened. For the time being, traders are facing loss. The eel fetched only K3,000-3,500 per vises (1.6 kg). The market primarily depends on China. The trade suspension in China side harms both the traders and those harvesting eel and shrimp. The local traders can only wait for the reopening of trade in China.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar