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

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Myanmar trade deficit with China estimated at $1.3 bln last FY

Myanmar trade deficit in goods with China was estimated at US$1.3 billion in the 11 months of the last financial year (Oct-Aug), the data released by the Ministry of Commerce indicated. The value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with China in average trade and border trade topped $11.19 billion as of August in the past FY. The MoC reported that imports surpassed exports in trade with China, with exports reaching over $4.9 billion and imports valued at over $6.246 billion. This year, China has been stepping up border control measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19, causing traffic congestion in the border areas of two sides.

Next, the value of Myanmar’s bilateral trade with the neighbouring country China through maritime trade and border trade has registered approximately at US$46.247 billion in the incumbent government period, the statistics issued by the Central Statistical Organization under the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry indicated. The ministry reported that the imports outperformed the exports in trade with China over the past four years, with exports reaching over $21.363 billion and imports valued at over $24.8 billion. Between 2016-2017FY and 2019-2020 (as of August), China has been Myanmar’s largest trade partner beyond the regional states. Myanmar primarily exports rice, various types of peas, sesame seeds, corn, fruits and vegetables, dried tea leaves, fishery products, rubber, gem and animal products to China.

In contrast, machinery, plastic raw materials, CMP raw materials, consumer products and electronic tools flow into Myanmar. Myanmar mainly exports agricultural products to China through the border trade, which is often halted, on account of China clamping down on illegal goods. Myanmar merchants are facing difficulties in exporting goods to China through the legitimate channel as they find the tax levied by China is too high. In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, the Ministry of Commerce, the relevant departments and Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with China counterparts.

Illegal trade is highly witnessed between Myanmar and China borders in the previous years. This year, traders sent the goods via legitimate trade route, and trading volume sharply fell, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation. The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade. Myanmar’s Ministry of Commerce is trying to boost exports of rice, broken rice, agro-products, fruits and fisheries to China through diplomatic negotiations. Myanmar is carrying out border trade with the neighbouring country China through Muse, Lweje, Chinshwehaw, Kampaiti and Kengtung. 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.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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China demand drives sesame prices up in Oct

The prices of sesame seeds significantly rose in October on the back of China’s strong demand, said traders from Mandalay market. The price of white sesame increased from over K1.5 million to K1.66 million per tonne compared to September’s rate, while brown sesame price also jumped to K1.45 million per tonne in October, which is nearly up by K200,000 per tonne against last month. The price of black sesame seeds is flat at over K2.7 million per tonne for the two consecutive months. Last year, sesame seeds were priced at K2.13 million per tonne for white sesame, K1.94 million per tonne for brown sesame and K3.6 million per tonne for black sesame, as per market data updated by Myantrade online. This year, the sesame prices drop 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 large profit this year, a trader from Mandalay market stressed. Typically, Myanmar exports about 80 per cent of sesame production to foreign markets. China is the leading 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.

Sesame is cultivated in the country throughout the year. Magway Region, which has gained a reputation as the oil pot of Myanmar, is the primary 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 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.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Imports stand at $341.7 mln as of 9 Oct, MOC reports

The value of Myanmar’s imports between 1 and 9 October in the current financial year 2020-2021 stood at US$341.7 million, reflecting a decrease of $150 million from $491.89 million 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. During the nine days of trading, the import value of capital goods, such as auto parts, vehicles, machines, steel, and aeroplane parts, was estimated at $118.29 million. The figure was $54 million lower than the same period in the previous FY. Meanwhile, Myanmar imported consumer products worth $80.66 million, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and palm oil.

The imports of consumer products showed a decrease of $15.9 million compared with the same period in the previous FY. Typically, intermediate goods make up a large share of Myanmar’s imports, with petroleum products and plastic raw materials being the main import items. In the current FY, imports of raw materials plunged to $113 million from $160.8 million registered during the year-ago period. During the same period, raw materials worth $29.68 billion were also imported for the Cut-Make-Pack (CMP) garment businesses, showing a decrease of $31.5 million compared with last year. Myanmar imported over $19 billion worth goods in the last FY2019-2020, showing an increase of $935.8 million compared to the FY2018-2019. 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.

The government 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 material and supporting products for export promotion and the import substitution.
The Ministry of Commerce has adhered to its policy reform depending on the requirements of the State and people. Moreover, a series of trade liberalization and openness for policy development have been introduced for enhancing a more viable trade environment. The private sector plays a prominent role in Myanmar’s market-oriented economic system. The ministry is highlighting free and fair trade, ensuring product safety and quality goods and services. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Individual trades through land border exceed K43 bln in FY2019-2020

Trade conducted by Individual Trading Card (ITC) holders touched a low of K43 billion through the land border in the last financial year 2019-2020, according to the data released by the Ministry of Commerce. The trade value plunged from K59 billion registered in the FY2018-2019 as both export and import sharply fell in the last FY2019-2020. The Trade Department issued 88 cards in the October-September period of the FY2019-2020, and the cardholders conducted trade worth K43 billion. While imports exceeded K40 billion, exports were valued at just K3.25 billion.
The Myawady border recorded the highest trade value at K28 billion in the last FY, according to the Commerce Ministry. But, 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 K450 million at Tamu, over K10.8 million at Muse, K188 million at Tachilek, K39.4 million at Lwejel, K488 million at Kampaiti, over K2 billion at Kawthoung, K680.9 million at Reed, K7.7 billion at Mawtaung, K3.4 billion at Hteekhee, and K183 million at Kengtung, as per data from the Commerce Ministry. Individual trades topped K737 million in the period from 21 November 2012 to 31 March 2013; exceeded K6.6 billion in the FY2013-2014; reached K9.37 billion in the FY2014-2015; stood at over K6.4 billion in the FY2015-2016; rose above K18.5 billion in the FY2016-2017; touched K45.9 billion in the FY2017-2018; K22.5 billion during the 2018 mini-budget period (April-September); and K59 billion in the FY2018-2019.

Trading with the use of ITC is based on local currency. Hundreds of exports and imports items have been allowed for individual trading at the border checkpoints. The trade department has issued 1,775 cards so far intending to boost trade. People in business can trade goods worth K3 million per day using ITCs, and the Trade Department has permitted trade of up to K15 million per day over five days.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Trade documentation, payments in Myanmar to be completed online

Myanmar will launch an online portal that will enable all paperwork and payments to be done digitally to facilitate trade in November. Administrative procedures such as applications and payments for export and import permits can be done online on the Myanmar Tradenet 2.0 portal, while the documents can also be issued digitally. These procedures had all beem done manually at the Department of Trade in the past.

Foreign countries are already using TradeNet 4.0. In Myanmar, they are just moving to Tradenet 2.0. They have to keep pace with their trading partners and this is also very helpful in reducing physical contact during the COVID-29 period. Myanmar can expect trade to raise once the online system is in place. In Tradenet 2.0 they have amended some of the existing policies in applying for and renewing export/import licenses. By going online, trades will no longer need to submit recommendations from the various departments, including the Department of Agriculture, Livestock Breeding & Veterinary Department and Food and Drug Administration, to the Department of Trade.

As all the documents can be accessed on the system, traders will not need to visit all the departments to obtain the required documentation for the process. All traders should update their details online before October 25. After that deadline, accounts with incomplete data will be removed from the system. The ministry will strive to launch Tradenet 2.0 in time despite the lack of staff working in the office during COVID-19.

Source: Myanmar Times

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Myanmar agricultural exports increase in 2019-2020 FY

Myanmar’s exports of farm products remarkably soared to US$3.69 billion between 1 October 2019 and 25 September 2020 in the 2019-2020 financial year from $3.2 billion in the corresponding period of the 2017-2018FY, according to the trade figures released by the Ministry of Commerce.

During the last FY2019-2020, the agro-export figures reflect an increase of $474 million against a-year ago period. Myanmar’s agricultural exports rose regardless of the impact of the coronavirus on foreign demand. In the exports sector, the agricultural industry performed the best, accounting for 22 per cent of overall exports. The chief items of export in the agricultural industry are rice and broken rice, pulses and beans and maize. Fruits and vegetables, sesame, dried tea leaves, sugar, and other agro products are also shipped to other countries.

More than 100,000 acres of monsoon paddy have been cultivated under the contract farming system this year, according to Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF). The Commerce Ministry is working to help farmers deal with challenges such as high input costs, procurement of pedigree seeds, high cultivation costs, and unpredictable weather conditions. In a bid to remedy the businesses stricken by the COVID-19, the government also provided the agricultural loan of K150,000 per acre of paddy.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar

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External trade exceeds $36 bln as of 25 September

Myanmar’s external trade between 1 October and 25 September in the 2019-2020 financial year touched a high of US$36.2 billion, an increase of $1.889 billion compared with the corresponding period of the 2018-2019FY, according to the Ministry of Commerce. During the same period in the previous FY, trade stood at $34.3 billion, according to data released by the ministry. Myanmar’s foreign trade has shown a 10-per-cent increase, year over year, under the incumbent government.

Myanmar has already reached total trade value target of $34 billion for the current FY, said an official from the ministry. In the current FY, both maritime and border trade recorded an increase compared with the year-ago period, with exports estimated at over $17.37 billion and imports valued at $18.8 billion. The government is trying to reduce the trade deficit by screening luxury import items and boosting exports. The Ministry of Commerce is endeavoring to boost export, enhance value-added production, reduce export barriers and provide trade financing services.

Under the National Planning Law for the Financial Year 2020-2021, Myanmar intends to reach the export target at US$16 billion and import at $18 billion. Myanmar’s external trade between FY2016-2017 and FY2019-2020 (as of 21 August) under the incumbent government period touched a high of US$149.67 billion, comprising exports worth $68.53 billion and imports valued $811 billion, according to the statistics released by the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


Fishery exports soar to over $847 mln in 2019-2020FY

Export earnings from the fisheries sector during the period between 1 October and 25 September in the financial year 2019-2020 reached US$847.5 million, an increase of $125.65 million from the year-ago period. The figures stood at just $721.865 million during a-year ago period. During the current financial year, the fishery exports are expected to reach a record high. Myanmar Fisheries Federation (MFF) expected to earn more than $800 million from fishery exports in the FY2019-2020, and it got 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. Myanmar’s fishery exports have slightly declined over the past three months, owing to the COVID-19 impacts. However, Myanmar witnessed a large volume of exports in the post-pandemic period.

The MFF is making concerted efforts to increase fishery export earnings by developing fish farming lakes which meet international standards and adopting advanced fishing techniques. To ensure food safety, the foreign market requires suppliers to obtain Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) certificates. The MFF is working with fish farmers, processors, and the Fisheries Department under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation to develop the GAqP system. 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 over 580,000 tonnes in the 2018-2019FY.

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. If the state can boost processing technology, it will contribute to the country’s economy and earn more income for those stakeholders in the supply chain, Yangon Region Fisheries Department stated.

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar


YSX trade volume drops to lowest in September

The volume of shares traded on the Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX) in September sank to the lowest level of 85,237 shares, yet the value slightly rose to K838.6 million against August’s rate due to the increase in share prices, according to YSX’s monthly report. The trading volume last month plunged from 118,850 shares registered in August, the statistics indicated. The stock markets worldwide have reported their largest declines since the 2008 financial crisis. Similarly, the local equities market is also scared by the COVID-19 crash, a market observer points out.

In January 2020, 196,836 shares worth K1.25 billion were traded on the exchange while 188,919 shares, with estimated value of K1.48 billion were traded on the business in February and 228,913 shares valued K1.42 billion were traded in March respectively. It touched the lowest of K902 million with 173,808 shares in April. It rose to K1.2 billion with 200,416 shares being traded in May. The share volumes traded on the exchange surged to 221,682 in June, with estimated value K1.3 billion and then, it fell to $1 billion with 125,137 shares in July. Next, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Myanmar (SECM) allowed foreigners to invest in the local equity market in March 2020. Foreigners have held 53,850 shares in the equity market as of 2 October. In September, the share prices of the listed companies on the exchange, except EFR, also showed an increase compared with August’s prices. The share prices of FMI were closed at K10,000 per unit, MTSH at K3,700, MCB at K8,000, FPB at K22,5000, TMH at K2,700 and EFR at K3,000 respectively.

The YSX was launched three years ago to improve the private business sector. It disseminates rules and regulations regarding the stock exchange and knowledge of share trading through stock investment seminars. To boost the trading, the YSX had doubled its stock trade matching time from two to four per day last year. The exchange launched seven times matching per day on 26 March 2020. Since 2017, it has held promotional events to attract new investors and encourage existing investors to trade more actively. The stock exchange has also sought the government’s support to get more public companies to participate in the stock market and help more institutional investors, such as financing companies, investment banks, and insurance companies, to emerge. A total of 2.4 million shares worth K13.39 billion were traded on the YSX in 2019, a significant increase compared to the previous year, according to the annual report released by the exchange. 

Source: The Global New Light of Myanmar