The Irrawaddy Burma Election 2010

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Election Uncertainty Brings Trade Downturn

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Rangood-based merchants say trade has slowed as traders face uncertainty regarding the Nov. 7 election.

After the government announced the election, many traders reduced their investments, said Rangoon-based merchants.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Kyaw Kyaw, who is running a commodity broker market in Bayintnaung Wholesale Market in Rangoon, said: “I don't dare invest at the moment and must wait to see what circumstances will bring. Traders don't want to hold much stock, ” adding that things were so slow that the food stalls in the market had few customers.

“The authorities collected 1o, oooo (about US $100) kyat for repairing some of the roads in the market area, but how can we pay them when the market is so slow,” said another broker.

Bayintnaung Wholesale Market is the largest wholesale center in the country for rice, beans, pulses and other agricultural commodities.

The downtown has hit the price of gold, which fell from 660000 kyat ($660) a tical (16.4 grams) last month to 650000 kyat ($650). There have been few dealers in the market, said a Rangoon-based gold-dealer speaking anonymously.

“We stopped selling on credit to customers even though we know them. What we don't know is what is going to happen after the election,” the gold-dealer said.

Business in Burma relies on credit as retailers and wholesalers build confidence with each other, Rangoon traders said.

“After we stopped giving credit to retailers, our products have barely sold,” said a clothing dealer from Yuzana Plaza in Rangoon. “On many days we sell nothing at all."

“Our business relies on credit,” said a dealer from South Okkalapa Township in Rangoon.  “We take raw material on credit from wholesalers and pay them for it after we have sold it. But credit lines have closed thanks to the election, so we no longer have work for the 12 people who are with us."

Last month the rice price rose depending on the kind of rice, but the price of oil which sold for 2050 kyat ($2) a viss (1.6kg) last month dropped 150 kyat ($0.15) this month.

The price of real estate in South Okkalapa Township, however, has increased 20 percent over last year, according to the Rangoon-based journal The Voice Weekly.


Nyan_win80"Once her [Aung San Suu Kyi's] sentence expires in November, and that notion is not disputed, it is our understanding that she will have served her sentence."
—Nyan Win, the foreign minister of Burma


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