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Trading resumes in Muse, but demand from Thailand yet to pick up

Trade in Muse, the Myanmar town bordering China, has picked up again after grinding to a halt in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, U Min Thein, vice chair of Muse rice merchants association told The Myanmar Times.

He said trade activities are now running at 80 percent of their usual capacity, and should return to normal by Thingyan next month, if things continue at the current pace. China is now buying 30,000 bags of rice a day, with an average of 40 trucks crossing the border, he said.

Trade at Muse came to a standstill during Chinese New Year in January, leading to a glut of commodities such as sugar, a variety of melons and rice in Myanmar and a decline in trade totaling US$209 million compared to the same period last year, said Minister of Commerce U Than Myint.

Trading in Muse resumed in mid February.

Demand at the Myanmar-Thai border has yet to pick up though. As a result of the virus, the Thais have suspended imports of fishery and marine products such as mantis shrimp, squid and fish farmed or caught in Myanmar.

U Than Lwin Oo, a resident of Kyaing Mei Taung village in Bokepyin township, Tanintharyi Region, said prices for large mantis shrimp have declined by more than 75pc to K3,000 each due to the lack of buyers.

The local fisheries trade has long been the bread and butter for residents in Tanintharyi. The products are exported to Thailand, which re-exports the goods to China.

As a result, of the decline in trade, most of marine products are now being sold locally in Myeik and other local villages for a fraction of the cost.

“Right now, we have a huge supply of seafood, including the expensive and good quality seafood which used to be rare as these would be snapped by Thailand or China. We can get all this for cheap now,” said Daw Su Su Hlaing, a local from Kyaing Mei Taung village in Myeik. – Translated

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Source : Myanmar Times

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