Business Roundup

Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Nan Lwin 18 July 2020

YANGON—Though the Myanmar government is allowing businesses to operate under COVID-19 restrictions, most are still struggling to survive due to the economic impacts of the pandemic, particularly tourism, garment and small and medium-sized businesses.

This week, the Myanmar Garment Manufacturers’ Association (MGMA) said clothing factories are struggling as large buyers in the European Union (EU) have suspended orders.

Although the World Bank said Myanmar’s economic growth could drop from 6.8 to 0.5 percent this fiscal year, the government has now forecast that gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 6 percent in the coming 2020-2021 fiscal year.

In addition, China has approved rice export licenses for 43 Myanmar companies, allowing them to officially export rice and broken rice from Myanmar to China’s domestic market.

The Myanmar government also announced that it will allow the commercial breeding of crocodiles.

Garment factories are struggling to survive

MGMA said that “cut, make and pack” (CMP) garment factories are struggling due to a lack of orders from buyers in the EU, the major market for their products.

The association said many factories have reduced working hours and cut jobs, while some have permanently or temporarily shut down. Some factories have not received any orders nor even any price enquiries since March, MGMA said.

Many clothing shops across Europe have closed and the demand from Japan has declined by almost half, according to the MGMA. It said that without new orders, many more factories will be forced to reduce their workforce and working hours, and to close either temporarily or permanently.

Garment exports are mainly shipped to the EU, Japan and South Korea and Myanmar earned over US$4.5 billion from the sector from October to July, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Export revenues are down by US$65 million compared to the same period a year earlier, mainly due to COVID-19, according to the ministry. According to the MGMA, more than 100 garment businesses have closed due to the effects of COVID-19.

Myanmar’s GDP to grow by 6 percent next fiscal year, says government

The deputy head of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI) said the country’s GDP is expected to grow by 6 percent in the upcoming 2020-21 fiscal year.

The 2020-2021 fiscal year will begin in October and ends Sept. 30, 2021.

Deputy Minister U Set Aung said that the National Planning Bill has projected the GDP will reach 125.8 trillion kyats and average annual income per capita is expected to reach more than 2.2 million kyats (US$1,604).

The country’s average annual income per capita was forecast to be 2 million kyats in 2019-2020.

China approves rice export licenses for 43 Myanmar companies

China’s General Administration of Customs has approved rice export licenses for 43 Myanmar companies and 79 rice mills, according to the Myanmar Rice Federation.

The federation said the move will allow companies to export rice and broken rice from Myanmar officially into China’s domestic market. China is one of the major markets for Myanmar’s rice exports.

Myanmar currently exports around 300,00 to 400,00 bags of rice daily to Yunnan, China via land border gates.

Government to allow commercial breeding of crocodiles

The Myanmar government will allow commercial breeding of crocodiles, according to the Forest Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation.

It said the ministry will allow breeding of saltwater crocodiles, mugger crocodiles and Siamese crocodiles for zoos, commercial displays and meat and leather production.

The Forest Department said it will announce details later about requirements for crocodile farming. China is the biggest buyer of crocodile products, followed by Hong Kong, Taiwan and countries in the Middle East.

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