Myanmar (Burma): Brown rice prices unstable

16.05.2017

The price of brown rice has been unsteady in the domestic market, according to rice merchants.

Merchants speculate that the unsteady price is due to Chinese buyers who have come to Ayeyawady Region to buy the rice directly.

A Yangon-based merchant said: They [Chinese] pay whatever price the sellers ask, making the domestic market prices unstable.

The price of a sack of brown rice from Myaungmya, Ayeyawady, jumped from Ks19,000 (US$14) to Ks22,000 between April and May. The prices may vary with the type and quality of rice.

I think the market prices may fall. Formerly, they bought rice through brokers. So Yangon brokers were careful not to hurt market prices. Now the Chinese are bypassing the brokers. They purchase rice at the asked price so the prices rise and domestic brokers can't compete with them. When they stop buying, the prices fall and the market becomes inactive, said the merchant.

Chit Khine, chairman of the Myanmar Rice Federation, told a workshop on April 29 that he asked the government to do something about the situation since it could hurt the market in the long run.

Chinese buyers are buying rice directly in Bago and Yangon regions. I've requested the government to control them with a trade policy since they disrupt domestic trading.

The country's rice trade heavily depends on China and the business becomes inactive when the Chinese government seizes Myanmar rice because it is unofficial in China.

There was an agreement in 2014 over the export of 100,000 tonnes of rice by sea. There are no more contracts since.


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