Trade Deficit Narrows as Imports Slump and Exports Rise $500m

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The overall value of trade between My­anmar and foreign countries fell by more than $330 million be­tween April 1st and De­cember 30th last year compared to the same pe­riod the year before, with a decline in imports off­setting a $509 million rise in exports.

Ministry of Commerce figures show exports reached $8.2 billion, up from last year’s figure of $7.7 billion for the same period. The boost came from key areas including industrial and agricultur­al products.

Imports this year reached $11.52 billion, down from $12.36 billion down from the same pe­riod last year.

The newly appointed Minister for Commerce, U Than Myint, has pledged to triple exports within five years under the NLD-led government and his ministry has liberalised previously restrictive pol­icies on trade licenses and export items.

The central bank re­cently announced plans to restrict non-essential imports in a bid to narrow the trade deficit slow the decline of the kyat against the US dollar.

The government has also released a National Export Strategy adding more ex­port items and has mod­ernised its customs clear­ance systems in a bid to make workflow faster.

Myanmar exporters and importers meanwhile have urged the govern­ment to provide better modern infrastructure for local transport and at international ports. The banking industry says smooth banking in­frastructure is needed to support international trade.

Government figures show that the recent clashes near the border with China between rebel groups and the Myanmar military saw trade at the Muse border post, a key overland export route, slump by $400 million as of December.

 

Source: Myanmar Business Today
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