Mon 06 Jul 2009, Rai Maraoh , IMNA
Salt exports from Thailand to Burma have decreased this month, according to salt traders from Myawaddy
“This month we didn’t export very much salt to Burma, which is not good for trade. Last April the salt trade did very well, so we got a good profit. Now we can’t export any more,” said a trader from Myawaddy
Most salt traders have been able to keep exporting salt into Burma for a living last February, however traders have had to adjust to the reduced amount of salt they have had to export from Thailand this month.
One cause of the decrease in exports has been due to the threat the rain brings to transporting their product. Traders from Moulmein in Mon sate worry that their cargo of salt will become liquid water and thus worthless. Therefore salt traders have tried to export their salt before raining season began. As the rainy season has begun there have been fewer salt shipments.
But fear over rain is not the greatest problem for slat traders. “Before we had more benefits from exporting salt because distributers from Burma needed more salt. Now they don’t want more salt from Thailand, they only want a little. For us, we don’t get the benefits” a trader explained. It is not currently clear why salt demand is down throughout Burma.
Last April the salt traders exported their product across the Thai- Burmese border at Myawaddy to Mae Sot; At times over 100 10-wheel-trucks were shipping salt each day across Burma. “We didn’t export much – one time we exported only 3 trucks of salt with 700 packages each. Last year in this time we got more profit from distributors in Burma who needed more salt. We export salt to Moulmein, while other traders export to their salt to Yangon, Mandalay and all of upper Myanmar. However now, all the salt distributors in Burma don’t need more, so we can’t export any more, if they needed salt again we would export it,” said a trader who exports salt to Moulamein.
Last April, the price of salt from Mae Sot was 120 bhat per sack, or over 5,500 kyat. Traders were able to sell salt in Moulmein for 7,500 kyat per sack. Now the salt traders in Moulmein cannot sell their salt for more then 5,000 kyat a sack.
Salt prices have varied recently; On May 2, 2008 cyclone Nargis hit the main salt production region of the Irrawaddy Delta, which drove salt prices up as the availability of salt decreased drastically. According to Kaowao Newsgroup, the prices climbed as high a three times their normal cost.. In October, 2008, Maj-Gen Tha Aye visited Mon State and the SPDC authorities to talk with salt producers and entrepreneurs about the production of sun-dried salt and iodized salt in Thaton, Thanbyu Zayat and Ye Townships.