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Maritime trade drops by $4.77 bln as of 4 June

The value of Myanmar’s maritime trade over the past eight months (1 Oct-4 June) of the current financial year 2020-2021 sank to US$13.275 billion, a drastic drop of over $4.77 billion as against the year-ago period, according to the Ministry of Commerce. While maritime exports were valued at $4.45 billion, imports were registered at $7.82 billion. Compared to the same period in the 2019-2020 fiscal year, imports fell by $3.49 billion, while exports reported a decrease of $1.28 billion. Meanwhile, the value of trade through the border this FY was estimated at $7.18 billion, a decrease of $842.5 million as against a year-ago period.

Myanmar witnessed a slump in exports and imports triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts and the political changes. The neighbouring countries tightened the border security and limited the trading time to contain the spread of the virus. For maritime trade, disruption in the logistic sector, the suspension of some ocean liners and the pandemic-induced container shortage somehow scaled-down the maritime trade. Additionally, the lack of money in circulation due to the closure of private banks decreases economic efficiency, an exporter stressed.

Over the past eight months, the country’s total external trade touched a low of $20.46 billion, which plunged from $26.08 billion recorded in a year-ago period. Myanmar’s sea trade generated $26 billion out of an overall trade value of $36 billion in the last FY2019-2020, the Ministry of Commerce’s statistics indicated. Myanmar exports agricultural products, fishery products, minerals, livestock, forest products, finished industrial goods, and other products. On the other hand, it imports capital goods, consumer goods, and raw industrial materials.  The country currently has nine ports involved in sea trade. Yangon Port is the main gateway for Myanmar’s maritime trade. It includes the Yangon inner terminals and the outer Thilawa Port. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar border trade value hits $7.19 bln in 2020-2021FY

The total border trade value exceeded US$7.189 billion, down over $842 million in the first nine months of the current financial year compared with the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

From 1 October to 4 June of 2020-2021FY, the total border trade amounted to $7.19 billion, a decrease of $842 million compared with the last year’s figure of $8.03 billion. The total border trade value included $4.69 billion in export and $2.49 billion in import. Myanmar has opened 18 border trade camps.

The trade volume at Muse border trade on the China-Myanmar border exceeded $3.66 billion, down over $567 million compared to the same period of the last year. Myanmar’s major export items are agro, animal, marine, forest, industrial finished products, and other products. The country mainly imports capital goods, raw materials, personal goods and CMP products.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Price of exported low-quality rice stands at K23,000 per 108-pound bag due to bank withdrawal limit

The price of exported low-quality rice cannot go up and is fixed at only K23,000 per 108-pound bag because of the bank withdrawal restriction, said Secretary U Than Oo of the Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Centre. Although the rice traders have money in their savings account, they are limited in the withdrawal of cash from their accounts. Thus, they are being faced with limited trading and cannot make cash payment for their trading. As for our exporters, we are trading the rice with foreign currency.

Then, people have exchanged foreign currency for Myanmar Kyat and have to wait to get the cash from the bank. They have cash in our saving accounts. But they cannot withdraw enough amount of cash from the bank. They have tried to connect with the Myanmar Economic Bank and other private banks. Even the connected banks are not able to pay the cash. They have to pay for the rice here, but they cannot withdraw the money from the bank. This is the reason why the price of the rice cannot go up. Besides, there are only a few companies that buy rice to export.

The companies are also buying rice to export it to Bangladesh. Therefore, the price of the exported rice is not very competitive. The price is not competitive in the rice market. Earlier, the purchasers bought the rice through border trade. The retail sellers bought back from the traders as well. The rice exporters have different foreign markets such as the European market, Asian market and Bangladesh market. Only a competitive market makes the rice sell well, and the price has also gone up. About 80,000 rice and broken rice bags were earlier traded daily at the Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Centre. But the trade volume plummeted to about 30,000 bags at present.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar exports drop 18% in nearly 8 months amid global pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the country’s exports in the nearly eight months (1 Oct- 28 May) of the current financial year 2020-2021 with a drop of 18 per cent as against last FY. Myanmar’s exports in the past eight months touched a low of US$9.69 billion, reflecting a tremendous drop of over $2.169 billion compared with a year-ago period of the previous FY, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce. During the corresponding period in the previous FY, exports stood at $11.86 billion, according to data released by the ministry. The pandemic deals a severe blow to the manufacturing, livestock, fishery, forest, mineral and other service sectors as it disrupted the supply chain and logistics sector and shut down the events.

Additionally, most people demand only staple food. As a result of this, the export sees the growth in agriculture sector only this year. The drop in natural gas exports, gems and jewellery, and CMP garments contribute to the slump in exports, the ministry stated. Both sea trade and border trade dropped amid the coronavirus impacts. The neighbouring countries tightened the border security and limited the trading hours to contain the spread of the virus. Pandemic-induced container shortage pushed up the freight rates in Myanmar, causing delays for exporters.

Of the seven export groups, agricultural exports increased $834.29 million against a year-ago period. In contrast, exports of livestock, forest products, minerals, fishery products and finished industrial goods drastically declined. Between 1 October and 25 May of the current FY, export values have registered at $3.6 billion for agro products, $16.6 million for livestock, $536.57 million for fishery products, $620.5 million for minerals, $85.88 million for forest products, $4.5 billion for manufactured goods, and $282.37 million for other goods. This year, Myanmar’s top export countries are listed China, Thailand, Japan, India, USA, Spain, Germany, UK, ROK and the Netherlands.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Individual trades through land border exceed K10.85 bln in four months

According to data released by the Ministry of Commerce, trade conducted by Individual Trading Card (ITC) holders reached over K10.85 billion through the land border in the first four months of the current financial year 2020-2021. The Trade Department issued 23 cards in the Oct-Jan period this FY. Imports exceeded K9.19 billion, and exports were valued at just K1.658 billion. The Myawady border recorded the highest trade value at K7.77 billion, according to the Commerce Ministry. Nevertheless, the figure only reflected imports as individual trading cardholders did not export goods through the Myawady gate. The value of trade carried out by individual cardholders stood at K144 million at Tamu post, K116 million at Tachilek, K704 million at Kawthoung, K2.09 billion at Mawtaung and K14.2 million at Kengtung, as per data from the Commerce Ministry.

At present, individual traders are no longer permitted to import the soap, detergent powder and toothpaste through the land border with the Individual Trading Card (IRC) starting from 4 June 2020, with a view to safeguarding the interests of local SMEs and helping them survive in a highly competitive market. Nevertheless, the restriction does not impact the regular traders with import/export licence. Fifty per cent of soap, detergent powder and toothpaste imports through Myanmar-Thailand border are done with ITC cards. Another 50 pc is carried out with the regular import/export licence. The import ban will hike the prices and cause negative consequences to the consumers and traders engaged in border market, a market observer shared his opinion.

Additionally, Myanmar’s Trade Department under the Ministry of Commerce notified that four food commodities are to be temporarily restricted for import via the Myanmar-Thailand border starting from 1 May, Myawady Trade Zone reported. The restricted items include various beverages, coffee mix and tea mix, instant coffee, and condensed milk and evaporated milk. However, they can be imported through maritime trade. Individual trades topped K737 million from 21 November 2012 to 31 March 2013 and exceeded K6.6 billion in the FY2013-2014. They reached K9.37 billion in the 2014-2015FY and stood at over K6.4 billion in the 2015-2016FY. They rose above K18.5 billion in the 2016-2017FY and touched K45.9 billion in the 2017-2018FY, with K22.5 billion during the 2018 mini-budget period (April-September) and K59 billion in the 2018-2019FY.

They drastically plunged to K43.32 billion in FY2019-2020. The individual traders who cannot establish their own company can trade with the ITC in the border area. However, trading volume is limited. The card validity is set for only one year. The cardholders need to extend the card at the respective border posts one month before the expiry date. Trading with the use of ITC is based on local currency. Hundreds of exports and imports items have been allowed for individual trading via the border posts. The traders can seek the ITC at the offices of Tamu, Muse, Myawady, Tachilek, Lwejel, Sittway, Maungtaw, Chinshwehaw, Kampaiti, Myeik, Kawthoung, Reed, Htantlang, Mawtaung, Hteekhee, Kyainglat, Meisei and export/import offices in Mandalay, Kengtung and Myitkyina. The trade department has issued 1,798 cards so far, intending to boost trade. People in business can trade goods worth K3 million per day using ITCs. The Trade Department has permitted trade of up to K15 million per day over five days.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar mineral exports slump amid impacts of global pandemic

The value of Myanmar’s mineral exports has drastically plunged to US$620.5 million as of 28 May in the current financial year 2020-2021 since 1 October. It reflects a severe drop of $622.7 million as against one year ago period, the Ministry of Commerce’s data indicated. The mineral exports hit over $1.24 billion in the corresponding period of last FY. The coronavirus related disruptions led to the slump in mineral exports this FY. The heightened COVID-19 measures also shut down the events like gem emporium and expo last year, a trader said. So far, excavation of over 1,250 mining blocks has been permitted on a manageable, small, medium, and large scale, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Due to the limited extraction of natural resources, exports of forest products and minerals had dropped significantly in the previous years. Permits for mining blocks were suspended in 2016. However, after two years, Myanmar’s mining sector has now been opened to local and foreign investors, according to the ministry. Within two years of implementing the Myanmar Mining Law, the Mining Department has approved more than 140 out of 3,000 proposed mining blocks. Many more blocks are to be granted the permit. The Myanmar Mining Law was enacted on 24 December 2015. However, the law came into force when the rules were issued on 13 February 2018. Under the new regulations, foreign firms can invest in large blocks covering up to 500,000 acres (about 202,000 hectares).

In contrast, local firms can invest in all kinds of blocks. Investors can seek a permit to mine for minerals such as gold, copper, lead and tin. The licences cover prospecting, exploration, and production. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar’s mineral exports have shown a remarkable increase in the previous FY2019-2020, touching $1.87 billion, an increase of $405.48 million compared with the year-ago period. In the FY2018-2019, mineral exports were pegged at just $1.465 billion. Myanmar’s mineral products constitute 10 per cent of overall exports. About 80 per cent of mineral products are shipped to external markets through sea trade. At the same time, 20 of them are sent to neighbouring countries through border trade channels.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Imports down by $3.3 bln as of 28 May, MoC reports

The value of Myanmar’s imports between 1 October and 28 May in the current financial year 2020-2021 stood at US$10 billion, a sharp drop of $3.338 billion from $13.397 billion registered in the year-ago period, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce. The value of imports in the consumer, capital, intermediate goods, and CMP businesses groups declined in the current FY. The drop in foreign direct investment this year negatively affected the trade. In nearly eight months of the current FY, capital goods, such as auto parts, vehicles, machines, steel, and aeroplane parts, were brought into the country. Their import value was estimated at $3.6 billion.

The figure was over $1.556 billion lower than those registered in the same period of the previous FY. Meanwhile, Myanmar imported consumer products worth $2.08 billion, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and palm oil. The imports of consumer products showed a slight decrease of $189 million compared with the same period in the previous FY. Intermediate goods make up the second-largest share of Myanmar’s imports, with petroleum products and plastic raw materials being the main import items. This year, imports of raw materials plunged to $3.34 billion from $4.45 billion registered during the year-ago period.

During the same period, $989 million worth of raw materials were also imported for the Cut-Make-Pack (CMP) garment sector. It showed a decrease of $488 million compared with the last budget year. At present, the CMP garment sector, which contributes to 30 per cent of Myanmar’s export sector, is struggling due to the cancellation of order from the European countries and suspension of the trade by western countries amid COVID-19. Therefore, import values of raw materials by CMP businesses have been dropping. The top 10 import countries to Myanmar are China, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Viet Nam, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the US, as per data of the Ministry of Commerce. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Myanmar’s foreign trade deficit exceeded $360 million

In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Myanmar’s foreign trade deficit reached more than $ 360 million, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The trade deficit means that Myanmar imports more than it exports in its foreign trade. In the eight months from October 1 to May 28 of the 2020-2021 fiscal year, Myanmar exported only $ 9.691 billion. Imports amounted to $ 10.058 billion. During that period, Myanmar’s exports and imports were worth $ 367.05 million more than exports. As a result, Myanmar’s foreign trade deficit of $ 367.105 million in the first eight months of the current fiscal year.

In the same period last year, Myanmar’s foreign trade deficit reached more than $ 1.5 billion, according to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar exports agricultural products Animal products Fishery products; Mining products; Forest products; Finished industrial products; It is mainly exporting to other exports. Foreign investment goods; Consumer goods Industrial raw materials; It is mainly importing CMP raw materials. Myanmar is developing and implementing export strategies to boost exports, while on the other hand it is trying to reduce the trade deficit as domestic demand has not been reduced due to domestic demand, but there are still some difficulties in practice, said an official from the Ministry of Commerce.

According to the Ministry of Commerce, the trade deficit in Myanmar’s foreign trade was only $ 89.223 million in the same period last fiscal year, 2019-2020. In the last fiscal year 2018-2019, the trade deficit is expected to be reduced to US $ 500 million. However, by the end of the fiscal year, the trade deficit was over US $ 1.15 billion. In the first six months of fiscal 2018, the total trade surplus was over US $ 18 billion, with a trade deficit of over US $ 1 billion. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the total trade volume was over US $ 33 billion and the trade deficit was over US $ 3.8 billion. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the total trade surplus was over US $ 29 billion, with a trade deficit of over US $ 5 billion, according to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: Daily Eleven

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Fishery exports plunge to $536.57 mln as of 28 May

Export earnings from the fisheries sector in nearly eight months (1 Oct-28 May) of the current Financial Year 2020-2021 touched a low of US$538.6 million, a significant decrease of $115.79 million from the year-ago period, according to statistics released by the Commerce Ministry. The figures stood at $652.37 million during a-year ago period. Myanmar’s fishery exports have slightly declined this year, owing to the COVID-19 impacts and the transport difficulty amid the political changes. The fishery exports through the Sino-Myanmar border has ground to a halt following the consequences and safety measures on the imported seafood amid the COVID-19 pandemic, traders stressed. Myanmar’s fishery export was experiencing a downturn due to the import restrictions triggered by the detection of the COVID-19 on fish imports in China. China was the second-largest buyer of Myanmar’s fishery products, accounting for US$254 million out of overall fishery export value of $850 million in the past financial year2019-2020.

At present, the fishery sector is dependent on maritime trade only. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidelines to ensure food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. Permitted companies are advised to carry out food safety plans, follow the WHO and FAO guidelines, formulate the safety management system and suspend the exports in case any suspicious foodborne virus or virus infection risk is found in the products. The export is likely to resume once the products meet food safety criteria set by the General Administration of Customs of the People Republic of China (GACC). Myanmar Fisheries Federation stated that only the G2G pact could tackle problems faced in exporting farm-raised fish and prawns and ensuring smooth freight movement between countries in order to bolster exports.

During the last FY2019-2020, MFF expected to earn more than $800 million from fishery exports, and it reached a target. Myanmar exports fisheries products, such as fish, prawns, and crabs, to markets in 40 countries, including China, Saudi Arabia, the US, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and countries in the European Union. The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farming lakes that meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques. The foreign market requires suppliers to obtain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates in order to ensure food safety. Fishery products must be sourced only from hatcheries that are compliant with GAqP to meet international market standards.

The MFF works with fish farmers, processors, and the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation to develop the GAqP system. Processors can screen fishery products for food safety at ISO-accredited laboratories under the Fisheries Department. Myanmar’s economy is more dependent on the agricultural sector to a large extent. Also, the fisheries sector contributes a lot to the national gross domestic product (GDP). Its fishery production, including shrimps and saltwater and freshwater fish, is far better than the regional countries. There are 480,000 acres of fish and prawn breeding farms across the country and more than 120 cold-storage facilities in Myanmar. Myanmar exported 340,000 tonnes of fishery products worth $530 million in the 2013-2014FY, 330,000 tonnes worth $480 million in the 2014-2015FY, 360,000 tonnes worth $500 million in the 2015-2016FY, 430,000 tonnes worth $600 million in the 2016-2017FY, 560,000 tonnes worth $700 million in the 2017-2018FY and 580,000 tonnes worth over $730 million in the 2018-2019FY respectively, according to the Commerce Ministry. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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Myanmar rice export earns $386 mln in five months

Myanmar has generated US$386 million income from exports of rice and broken rice in the first-five months (Oct-Feb) of the current financial year 2020-2021, according to Myanmar Customs Department. At present, rice shipment to European countries is declining. However, Myanmar is constantly delivering rice and broken rice to China and Bangladesh. The market cools down for now due to the transport difficulties and dollar gains. The price is quite stable with the sluggish trade.

Next, China’s Customs granted licences to 47 Myanmar companies on 26 February 2021 to legally export the rice to China through Muse land border this year. The authorized companies for rice export to China increased this year as against last year. However, the permitted volume of rice for exports has not been confirmed yet, said U Min Thein, vice chair of Muse Rice Wholesale Centre. Myanmar traders are sending rice to China through Muse border under new permits at the present time.

Nevertheless, limited money withdrawal permitted by the private banks is disrupting the rice exports. Myanmar set the rice export target at only 2 million tonnes in the current FY as summer paddy growing acreage drops, said U Ye Min Aung, President of Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). Weather changes affected irrigation water resource availability on agriculture. Consequently, the export figures showed a drop of 300,000 tonnes of rice in exports this year. Myanmar generated over $800 million from rice exports in the previous FY2019-2020 which ends 30 September, with estimated volume of over 2.5 million tonnes.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar