Myanmar rice price falls as Chinese demand slows

Rice prices are falling in quiet rainy-season trading, as a weaker yuan makes Myanmar exports to the world’s second-largest economy less competitive and arrests in China in connection with the rice trade discourage buyers across the border.

U Thein Zaw, chair of the Mandalay rice trading centre, said on July 5 that the price of ordinary rice exported to China is down by K500 in each category. “Trading is quiet, so prices are reduced,” he said.

The Chinese yuan has depreciated by 12.75 percent to the kyat this year according to Central Bank of Myanmar data, while U Thein Zaw said that traders have been discouraged by arrests in their own country.

“The big traders are not coming down from China much, so local traders here are not very active. In Yangon summer rice is selling at a discount of K400 or K500 per basket,” he said.

Seasonal difficulties have also slowed trade. “A transaction that normally takes a week can take 15 to 20 days in heavy rain, to get across the border and back,” he said. “The rain has been so heavy that some shops have closed altogether. Traders sometimes come back with unsold stock.”

A survey by Yezin Agriculture University found that Myanmar might be losing up to 4 million tonnes of paddy each year – equivalent to half a year’s food supply for the country – through wastage, the university said last week. Of the 14 million tonnes produced, about 8 million tonnes are consumed in Myanmar, and 1.18 tonnes exported, mostly to China.

 

Source: Myanmar Times

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