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Myanmar manufacturing, construction sectors take beating

The manufacturing sector recorded an accelerated downturn in April as a result of COVID-19, according to a survey from IHS Markit.

The headline IHS Markit Myanmar Manufacturing PMI (Purchasing Managers Index) plummeted to 29.0 in April from 45.3 in March, signaling a severe decline in manufacturing business conditions in Myanmar.

The PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of manufacturing performance. It is derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases. Any figure greater than 50.0 indicates overall improvement of the sector.

“Myanmar’s manufacturing sector nosedived in April as the global economy was rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The PMI dropped like a stone to 29.0,” according to Trevor Balchin, Economics Director at IHS Markit.

Indicators for output, new orders and employment, accounting for 75 percent of the weight of the PMI, all sank to new record lows in April.

“Regarding new work, around 80 pc of the survey panel reported declines in April. Of the 10 pc reporting growth, manufacturers mainly linked this to panic buying of food,” Mr Balchin reported.

Around 80 pc of the survey respondents reported lower intakes of new orders in April. A similar proportion of firms reported lower output during the month, as business operations were suspended and workers returned to their home towns.

The construction sector has also taken a beating, with many private construction projects in Yangon at a standstill since April, said Myanmar Construction Entrepreneurs Association’s Central Executive Committee Member U Kyaw Kyaw Soe.

He said a lot of the construction work in Yangon has not fully recommenced since Thingyan as workers have been delayed in returning to Yangon from their hometowns due to irregular bus and train schedules. Meanwhile, employers and the authorities have also been vague about instructions to resume work amid COVID-19.

Such disruptions are expected to take their toll on the economy for a long time to come. “Even after the virus spread is contained and businesses start operating as usual again, it would take around two years for the construction sector to recover,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Soe.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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