Aug 1, 2011

Rice exports expected to rise

A recent cut to export taxes is being tipped to boost rice exports this year, the chairman of the country’s premier rice industry body said last week.

U Chit Khine, chairman of the Myanmar Rice Industry Association and owner of Kitzana Kyun Thar rice company, predicted exports this year would be 20 percent greater than the 500,000 tonnes of rice that earned US$185 million in the 2010-11 fiscal year.

However, even a 20pc increase would be well short of the 900,000 tonnes that earned more than $280 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year.

“The 2009-10 exports were the highest they had been in a decade … It’s not possible that we’ll export that much this year but our association is working to support farmers to buy the required inputs such as fertiliser and teaching better growing techniques,” he said.

“Now that the government has cut the export tax from 10 to 7pc, we expect our exports will rise this year,” he said.

The Ministry of Commerce informed exporters of the 3pc tax reduction in early July.

An economist working for the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) said: “Since the government cut the export tax it’s more likely that exporters will make a profit from selling rice abroad, which is a good way to encourage export activity.”

All commodities exporters are battling an uncertain currency exchange climate that saw the US dollar fall in value by nearly 10pc between May and June, eventually hitting a low of K750 in early June. On July 21, $1 was trading for about K785.

U Chit Khine said the association will now force authorised exporters to sell 5pc of their stock at an agreed rate on local markets to ensure stable prices, beginning from this year.

The Ministry of Commerce authorised 35 specialised rice companies to export 40,000 tonnes in April, although only 30,000 tonnes were actually exported, said U Sein Win Hlaing, the association’s vice president.

He said low-grade ehmeta (including 25pc broken grains) rice is selling for about US$390-400 a tonne fixed-on-board, or about $20 a tonne more than at the same time last year. He said ehmeta is mainly sold to West African nations and Bangladesh. – Translated by Zar Zar Soe

Source: Myanmar Times

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