January 29, 2020


Sino-Myanmar border trade up $573.6 mln in current fiscal

Image result for Sino-Myanmar border trade Sino-Myanmar border trade registered an increase of US$573.668 million between 1 October and 17 January in the current financial year. Data from the ministry shows the value of Sino-Myanmar border trade rose to $2 billion in the current fiscal from $1.46 billion recorded in the year-ago period.This FY, the value of border trade totaled $1.67 billion at Muse, $33.89 million at Lweje, $188.4 million at Chinshwehaw, $140.87 million at Kanpiketee, and $2.878 million at Kengtung.

In a bid to lower trade barriers and offer relief to Myanmar traders through the border trade channel, officials from the Ministry of Commerce, the related departments, and the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry have been negotiating with their Chinese counterparts. During Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Myanmar, Myanmar and China signed MoUs on Local Cooperation under the Framework for Joint Building of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC) between the Yunnan Province of China and the Mandalay Region of Myanmar, Protocol on Plant Inspection and Quarantine Requirements for Exporting Rice From Myanmar to China, Protocol for Heat Processed Cocoons to be imported from Myanmar to China, Protocol on Quarantine Health Requirements for Slaughter Bovine to be Exported from Myanmar to China, Exchange Letter for the Project of Agricultural Product Quality Control Centre, , and many other agreements.

The two countries are making efforts to set up more border economic cooperation zones and promote border trade.Following the MoUs between Myanmar and China, bilateral trade will grow, said a market observer.Myanmar exports rice, sugar, pulses, sesame seeds, corn, dried tea leaves, fishery products, minerals, and animal products to China, while it imports agricultural machinery, electrical appliances, iron and steel-related materials, raw industrial goods, and consumer goods from the neighboring country.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Mon State a sweet spot for maritime trade, tourism

Image result for Mon State a sweet spot for tradingMaritime trade and tourism in Mon State can level up with better transport and power supply, according to a property market report.Yangon-based Picon-Deed Property Consultants released its study this month on Myanmar’s southern state highlighting how its mineral and natural resources, booming tourism industry and geographical location can capture investments and regional trade.

Mawlamyine, the state capital, and Kyaikhtiyo, commonly known as the Golden Rock, are popular tourist destinations, attracting a growing number of local and foreign visitors. Kyaikhtiyo is the star attraction but Mawlamyine, with its striking riverfront boulevard and diverse downtown area, was not far behind.The fourth most populous city in Myanmar, Mawlamyine is home to the 72-room Hotel Suggati. The waterfront five-storey hotel is owned by Singapore-listed Memories Group, and provides conference rooms, working spaces, a fitness centre and a restaurant

Mawlamyine needs to establish a reliable electricity supply in order to become a hub for value-adding activities to a wide variety of commodities. The state has large plantations of rubber along the Yangon-Mawlamyine Highway but gas-fired power stations have potential for scale up. A number of retail centres can already be found in Mawlamyine compared to other second tier cities. The state government held an investment fair last December to attract foreign and local businesses to invest in agriculture, fisheries, tourism, trade and logistics, manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.The location of Mon State means there is strong potential to leverage on the trade channels with Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Source: Myanmar Times

Mineral exports up $532 mln in current fiscal

Image result for Mineral exports up $532 mln in current fiscalMyanmar’s mineral exports were registered at US$832.42 million between 1 October and 10 January in the 2019-2020 financial year, showing a remarkable increase of $532.027 million compared to the year-ago period. Last year, mineral exports were pegged at just $300.39 million.

Both private and public sector mineral exports witnessed an increase in the current FY, with the private sector exports valued at $378.39 million and public sector exports estimated at $454 million. Of the seven export groups, exports of agriculture, minerals, fishery, and finished industrial goods showed an increase, while the exports of livestock, forest products, and other goods declined.Export values stood at $998.7 million for agricultural products, $48.32 million for livestock, $288.2 million for fishery products, $48.4 million for forest products, over $2.75 billion for manufactured goods, and $93.97 million for other goods.

The country’s export sector relies more on the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. While export earnings from the CMP (cut, make, and pack) garment businesses are rising, the country’s reliance on natural resources such as natural gas and jade has been lessening. Due to limited extraction of natural resources, exports of forest products and minerals dropped significantly in the previous year. Permits for mining blocks were suspended in 2016, but after a period of two years, Myanmar’s mining sector has now been opened to local and foreign investors.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar 

Local-made lotus towels find market in Japan

Image result for lotus towel MyanmarJapan is the largest buyer of towels woven with lotus thread. Pan Organic Wear is buying the thread derived by the residents from lotus stalks of the plants thriving in Soanye Inn lake near Soanye village in Kyaukse Township as raw material for the industry. The company is selling a towel woven with lotus and silk at over K 100,000 and with pure lotus at over K 400,000.

Fabrics made of lotus thread are too rare.They can cool you down in summer and warm you up in winter. Besides, they are light and easy to wash.Most Myanmar people wear the lotus towel around the next as a muffler, but foreigners typically wrap it around the waist as a longyi. Six person have to work through the difference stages of weaving for three consecutive days to produce a lotus thread towel. Unlike the imported cloths, lotus thread fabrics are rare commodity which takes time to produce one.

Pan Organic Wear is also producing longyis (man’s sarong) dyed with natural agents, apart from lotus thread towels, with the strength of 20 workers. It is also producing new generation weavers, according to local sources.The company buys a viss (3.6 pounds) of lotus thread between Ks 300,000 and Ks 400,000 depending on the quality. The lotus season begin in April every year.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

72 firms registered for retail, wholesale services: Commerce Ministry

Image result for retail businessThe Ministry of Commerce (MOC) recently announced that it has issued registration cards to 72 trading firms providing retail and wholesale services.Thirty-four wholly foreign enterprises from Thailand, Japan, the Netherlands, the US, China, Singapore, Switzerland, Malaysia, Poland, the Republic of Korea, and Germany have been granted registrations, along with 11 domestic businesses owned by Myanmar citizens and 27 joint ventures, according to the ministry.

With the recent reforms in the retail sector, domestic retailers said they are seeking a level playing field against foreign players.Foreign businesses and joint ventures are now allowed to carry out wholesale and retail businesses in Myanmar. This liberalization might affect the market share of local manufacturers.At present, domestic retailers are facing difficulties in keeping up with the reforms in the retail and wholesale sector as they do not control the whole supply chain.

Retail shops need to link with many suppliers and find ways to offer lower prices to customers.Proper supply chain management is important for retailers of any size as it can lower the price and give them a competitive advantage in the market, he said. Foreign investments can play an important role in the development of the country and create better jobs for local people.Thus, the country also needs to bring about investment opportunities and provide incentives to foreign investors, while promoting foreign investments.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Natural gas exports up $150 mln in two months

Related imageMyanmar’s exports of natural gas over the past two months of the current financial year amounted to US$579 million, an increase of about $150 million compared with the corresponding period of the 2018-2019 fiscal, according to the Commerce Ministry.The increase in the value of exports is linked to the rise in the price of natural gas in the global markets.

Natural gas is included in the list of major export items of Myanmar.Total natural gas production from inland blocks and offshore blocks in the third year of the incumbent government’s rule is estimated at 623.838 billion cubic feet. Natural gas extracted from the field is exported to China.The Yadana 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 Yedagon, located offshore from Taninthayi and discovered in 1992. The Zawtika Project in the Gulf of Moattama mainly supplies natural gas to neighboring Thailand.Production at Yadana and Yedagon is declining, and those projects will be halted in the coming years.

The Yadana, Yedagon, Zawtika, and Shwe gas projects are expected to collectively produce over 630 billion cubic feet of natural gas in the 2019-2020 fiscal year.There are over 104 oil and gas blocks in Myanmar: over 51 offshore blocks and 53 inland blocks.Myanmar’s exports of natural gas in the previous financial year totaled $3.88 billion. Meanwhile, heavy enterprises such as offshore oil and gas and mining projects will enter the country.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Rubber export income down $5 mln in current fiscal

Image result for rubber myanmarMyanmar exported rubber worth US$40 million over the last two months of the current financial year, a sharp drop of $5 million compared with the corresponding period of the previous fiscal.Over 32,000 tons of rubber was shipped to the external markets in the current financial year. The export volume was over 36,000 tons in the year-ago period.The volatile rubber price is related to global climate change, and government subsidy will be required for growers in need.

Rubber is primarily produced in Mon and Kayin states and Taninthayi, Bago, and Yangon regions in Myanmar. There are over 1.6 million acres of rubber plantations in Myanmar, with Mon State accounting for about 500,000 acres, followed by Kayin State (270,000 acres). About 300,000 tons of rubber is produced annually across the country. Seventy per cent of rubber produced in Myanmar goes to China. It is also shipped to Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Korea, India, Japan, and other countries.

Myanmar is exporting only rubber sheets owing to lack of machinery and technology. About 150,000 tons of rubber were exported in the 2017-2018 financial year. Myanmar shipped over 190,000 tons of rubber, with an estimated value of $250 million, to external markets in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, an increase of 41,000 tons which helped boost earnings by $60 million compared to the year-ago period.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

Pineapple growers call for official export channels to China

Image result for pineapple farm in MyanmarPineapple growers are asking the government negotiate official exports of the crop to China as soon as possible, a farmers association says.The call comes after pineapple cultivators suffered estimated losses of K700 million (US$458 million) during the previous harvest season when China suddenly banned imports of the fruit from Myanmar, the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producer and Exporter Association (MFVP) revealed.

The Ministry of Agriculture needs to work on behalf of local farmers to discuss the export of fruit crops to China and conduct timely pest risk analysis and risk assessment of local crops meant for export. Some 90 percent of Myanmar’s avocadoes are normally exported to Thailand and talks should be held with China to expedite formal sales ahead of increasing harvests of the crop. Myanmar is expected to negotiate China’s buying of pineapple and avocado during a meeting of on China-Myanmar border trade coordination set to take place soon before official export permits are granted.

The MFVP says for avocado and pineapple growers to prosper, the country needs capital investment in related small and medium enterprises (SME) to build packaging factories and dehydration plants to produce export-quality value-added goods..SMEs face many difficulties providing collateral and meeting banking requirements for loans so the government should step in with funding, MFVP officials feel.Official export procedures are lengthy as fruit exporters need to go to different departments to seek necessary documents and approval, and export licences often expire.

Source: Myanmar Times

Seed imports banned as fungal disease hits Thai rubber trees

A worker tapping a rubber tree in Thailan. The outbreak of a fungal infection of Thai rubber trees has led to a ban of imports of rubber seeds, seedlings and saplings into Myanmar. Photo - EPAThe outbreak of a fungal disease that weakens rubbers trees in Thailand has led to the halt of imports of rubber seeds, seedlings, and saplings into Myanmar, local authorities announce. Following the outbreak of the Pestalotiopsis sub species fungal infection of Thai rubber trees, rubber seeds, seedlings, and saplings will not be allowed through local airports and border gates, the Crop Protecting Unit of the Department of Agriculture said.

The Pestalotiopsis fungal disease has spread in some rubber plantations in Thailand, so precautionary measures have to be taken to protect Myanmar’s rubber trees. Additionally, imports of rubber seeds, seedlings, and saplings from other countries will also be halted, said U Win Zaw, head of the Myeik District Agriculture Department. The ban, which affects not only Thanintharyi Region, but the whole country, remains in effect indefinitely. The current announcement will be effective until the next one is issued.

The outbreak of the fungus does not affect the rubber market and imports of raw rubber and rubber latex are still allowed without restriction as before. The rubber market has been poor for a long time and there are only a few growers these days. Sellers are not interested in it so the ban has little impact. Rubber price is low in Myeik and some plantation owners have stopped extraction of latex because they can’t even cover production costs. According to some rubber growers, the fungus has also spread in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka although this has not been confirmed.

Source: Myanmar Times 

CMP businesses import raw materials worth $160.7 mln

Image result for cmp garmentImports of raw materials by CMP businesses from 1 to 25 October in the current fiscal were valued at US$160.7 million, an increase of $12 million compared with the corresponding period of the previous financial year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. And export of finished industrial goods touched $477 million in 25 days of trading. In 2018-2019FY, export of finished industrial goods crossed $9.8 billion while it was $8 billion in 2017-2018FY.

According to the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA), the manufacturing sector is likely to attract the most foreign investments in the current fiscal year. Myanmar’s manufacturing sector is largely concentrated in garments and textiles produced on the cutting, making, and packaging basis, and it contributes to the country’s GDP to a certain extent. The CMP industry has emerged as a very promising one in the export sector.

The value of CMP exports was just $850 million in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, but it tripled within two years to reach $2.5 billion in the 2017-2018FY, as per figures provided during the Myanmar Global Investment Forum 2018, held on 12 September 2018. Japan is the largest market for Myanmar apparel, followed by the European Union. There are currently over 400 garment factories in Myanmar, which employ more than 300,000 workers. Investors prefer to invest in cheap-labor countries like Myanmar.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar 



If you prefer to read previous version with PDF format, click here to go to our bulletin library .


MMRD helping clients unlock growth opportunities and shape tomorrow’s Myanmar.
MMRD Insight—Editor