By Nyein Nyein
The US dollar exchange rate has continued to slide since December on the back of low dollar demand and suspension of trade due to the China coronavirus, said money changers. The rate stood at K1,500 per dollar on 25 December and slid to K1,447 per dollar by 14 February, they said.
“The dollar exchange rate has declined because trading has stopped on account of the coronavirus outbreak in China. On the other hand, the local demand for the dollar is falling in the market,” said U Than Lwin, senior consultant with Kanbawza Bank (KBZ).
“I think the dollar exchange rate has declined because of the coronavirus adversely affecting the trading market. The US dollar is needed for the import market, which is still running, but only a few products were imported recently. This is happening around the world. But, Myanmar is using fewer US dollars and so, the US dollar exchange rate has declined. The export market is also faced with the same problem,” said U Than Lwin.
“Currently, the Myanmar-China border market is nearly halted due to the coronavirus. Fish, prawns, crabs, rice, and corn are being exported to China through the border camps, but now the export of these products has been discontinued 100 per cent. Watermelons and muskmelons have been an exception, but the volume of exports has been small,” said U Min Thein, vice chairman of Muse Depot.
“Now, we are faced with the worst situation. The whole trading mechanism has almost halted. So, we are suffering dramatic losses and thus, in great trouble. The government, on its part, is losing a lot on taxes. The government lost 95 per cent of taxes this year compared to last year. Traders are hoarding goods in their hands,” said U Min Thein.
“We need to monitor the US dollar’s fluctuations because the market is unstable,” said U Than Lwin.
“Moreover, crops are harvested in the open season in our country for export to other countries. At that time, the dollar exchange rate declines,” said Dr Soe Tun, a businessman. If the US dollar exchange rate goes on declining, the export sector is likely to suffer substantially, said exporters.
Currently, the dollar buying rate is pegged at K1,436 and the selling rate is K1,448. For other currencies, the buying rate for one Singapore dollar is K1,015 and selling rate is K1,030; the buying rate for one Euro is K1,530 and selling rate is K1,550; and, the buying rate for one Thai baht is K45 and selling rate is K47. (Translated by Hay Mar)