Myanmar Times (11/09/2019) - The prices of local peanut oil and groundnuts, which rose in August, are expected to stabilise this month, says an official with an industry organisation.
“Groundnut prices last month rose to a high of K4200 a viss (1.6 kilos) and it caused problems for local edible oil millers. However, new groundnut supplies will enter the market this month and thus prices will become more stable,” said U Thein Tun, vice chair of the Myanmar Edible Oil Millers Association.
“Even low quality nuts were bought by China in August and local groundnut prices shot up to between K3900 and K4200. It was as if they were buying all available supplies in the market. All stocks of groundnuts were low in the market and local demand couldn’t be met. In the same period last year, the price was under K3500,” U Thein Tun said.
Due to the hike in groundnut prices, local peanut oil prices have risen to between K8000 and K10,000 a viss.
“New groundnut harvests have entered the market in Tatkon, Yamethin and Kyaukpadaung and China hasn’t started buying because the road connections between China and Myanmar are not good yet. So, local prices will fall again and by mid-September, the prices may become stable at around K3000 to 3500, while peanut oil price may drop to K7000 a viss,” he said.
The prices of peanut oil have been steadily rising, up from about K2200 a viss in 2018 to about K10,000. But price of palm oil remains unchanged at about K2000. As a result, only about 25 pc of about 300 oil mills in urban areas of Mandalay have managed to stay afloat as people have opted for palm oil.
In Myanmar, although oil crops are included as a priority in the National Export Strategy overseen by the Ministry of Commerce, the volume of imports is two times higher than exports, Mandalay Chief Minister U Zaw Myint Maung said at a meeting with the edible oil dealers in January this year.
“Despite good soil and higher crop yields, good policies are still needed. Only 30 pc of over 3200 oil mills across the country, including 1000 in Sagaing, and 1500 in Mandalay, remain operating, while imports of edible oil reached US$650 million compared with exports of US$270 million,” U Zaw Myint Maung said.
“Pure groundnut oil currently sells at K10,000 a viss. Due to the high price, only those who want to use pure oil buy it. The sellers don’t make much profit either. They only keep selling it despite the high price just because they want to keep their workers and customers. It’s been a long time since we made profit due to the high price of the raw materials. Where we recover the profit is from the selling of groundnut cake, the by-product of oil making. We have to use part of that profit now again to sustain operations,” said a groundnut oil dealer in Mandalay. – Translated
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