Myanmar manufacturing sector hit by new lockdown measures

Manufacturing in Myanmar was hit hard in September by a range of new lockdown measures introduced to fight a surge in coronavirus cases, according to the latest Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) survey data from IHS Markit.

The measures, which includes instructions for factories to shut down for two weeks and employees not listed under an essential services list to work from home, has reversed the beginnings of a recovery in manufacturing.

“September heralded an abrupt reversal for Myanmar’s manufacturers as new lockdown restrictions were imposed to address a surge in coronavirus cases. Many companies reported temporary plant closures and the return of workers to their hometowns, repeating the scenes from earlier in the year during the first wave,” said Trevor Balchin, Economics Director at IHS Markit.

The Myanmar PMI index fell to 35.9 in September from 53.2 in August and 51.7 in July. The index varies between 0 and 100, with a reading above 50 indicating an overall increase in purchasing activity compared to the previous month. A score below 50 indicates an overall decrease.

The impact has so far been less severe than the record deterioration in business conditions seen in April, when the PMI index was just 29.

Still, four of the five components that make up the PMI – such as purchasing activity, output and new orders – had negative directional influences in September, with the exception being suppliers’ delivery times. Manufacturing production suffered a severe decline in September with factories temporarily closed in key regions like Yangon and Mandalay.

Domestic demand faltered amid the introduction of new restrictions, while international demand was tepid as well, with managers reporting lower demand from Asian markets including India, Thailand, Vietnam and Qatar.

With many factories temporarily closed in September, the overall level of employment in the sector also fell sharply.

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Source : Myanmar Times

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