Rice export in five months declines by over 100,000 tons compared to same period of last year

Zeyar Nyein

Myanmar has exported over 900,000 tons of rice and broken rice over the past five months, starting from April in the mini budge year, declining by over 100,000 tons compared to the same period of last year but earning more than US$15 million, according to Myanmar Rice Federation.

From April 1 to August 17 this year, 909,376 tons of rice and broken rice were exported, earning US$315.283 million.

In the previous 2017-2018 fiscal year (from April to August 2017), 1,024,459 tons of rice and broken rice were exported, earning nearly US$300 million.

Thus, this year saw a decrease of 115,073 tons but the income has increased by over US$15 million.

Thanks to extended global rice market, Myanmar was able to export nearly 3.6 million tons of rice last fiscal year, making a record high in over 50 years.

However, an official from Myanmar Rice Federation said rice export could increase this year only if export of rice to China is good.

"Rice export via maritime trade route is just normal. It will not decrease. But I am concerned about border trade route. We cannot say exactly about rice export situation. It depends on situation in China and its minimum support price. Maritime trade route will go as it is," said Lu Maw Myint Maung, joint general secretary of Myanmar Rice Federation.

As US dollar price increases now, rice export will increase income. Under the system of letter of credit (LC), Myanmar rice exporters have to weigh up extended export within this period.

"Exporter cannot sell their rice immediately. When they load rice onto a vessel and an LC comes out, they will make a profit. However, as global rice prices decrease despite dollar appreciation, buyers will want to see loading next two or three months. So, exporters dare not risk. They will make a profit only if loading happens early," said Than Oo, secretary of Bayintnaung Rice Wholesale Centre.

In the previous years, export of rice via border routes increased, accounting for 70 percent. Sea route trade was just about 30 percent.

Last 2017-2018 fiscal year, rice export by sea increase up to 48 percent.