Thursday, July 27, 2017

Trade steady year-on-year despite flooding: ministry

Trade volumes for the first half of this fiscal year match last year’s figures despite devastating flooding in July and August and a six-week embargo on rice exports.

Officials hope trade volumes will be bolstered by grains, paddy and pigeon peas (pictured) over the next few months. Photo: StaffOfficials hope trade volumes will be bolstered by grains, paddy and pigeon peas (pictured) over the next few months. Photo: Staff

Myanmar’s bilateral trade was worth US$16.204 billion over the first six months of fiscal year 2016, placing the country on track to meet its $29.9 billion target by the end of the year.

U Win Myint, director of the Trade Promotion Department under the Ministry of Commerce, told The Myanmar Times that exports until end-October were worth $6.848 billion and imports had reached $9.356 billion.

This compares with the first six months of last year, when exports were worth $6.723 billion and imports valued at $9.522 billion, he said, with total trade just marginally higher than this year, at $16.247 billion.

This year the ministry targets $12 billion of exports and $17.7 billion of imports, said U Win Myint.

“After six months we’re already more than half way to meeting our target,” he said.

Trade volumes soared this year between April and June, but softened following nationwide flooding that flooded over 1 million acres of farmland, destroyed 30,000 acres of fish and prawn ponds and caused in K26 billion in losses to the fisheries and livestock sector.

“To meet domestic demand, exports of rice and other products were temporarily suspended,” said U Win Myint, who hopes trade will pick up again in the second half.

“Soon grains and paddy will be back,” he said. “Pigeon peas will be grown from December, and other fruits too.”

 Translated by Khant Lin Oo