MoeMaKa Reporter (Yangon)
February 28, 2011
In Burma, merchants and travelers complainingly said that prices of goods and transport charges were rising up, as the domestic price of petrol and diesel went up by over 30%, because of the rise in the price of the fuel in the world. Commodity prices in Yangon and other towns are now shooting up for the high costs of transport, affected by the restriction called ‘ASEAN STANDARD’, which is not allowed trucks to exceed permitted payload and imposed recently by the authority concerned.
During this week, the price of diesel reached 4000 kyat (over US $4) from 3800 kyat, and then it rose up to 4200 kyat (over US $5), in next few days. The petrol price, similarly, went up more 500 kyat (around US $0.50) than its last week’s price and reached 3900 to 4000 kyat (around US $5) in black market.
Although gasoline is being sold at the price of 2500 kyat per gallon, a price fixed by the regime in private stations, the owners of automobiles and motorcycles have to wait for several hours to get a permit to buy it with that price. Thus the work queuing up for petrol and reselling it in black market becomes business in Burma. In the illegal trade, the price of petrol went up to 3900 kyat (over US $4).
According to travelers, as a direct impact of the rise in fuel prices, the cost for a ticket of Yangon - Mawlamying passenger bus increased from 5000 kyat to 5500 kyat in last few days.
As a consequence of political instability started in mid January in Middle East countries, the price of a barrel of crude oil rocketed to US $120, and so the domestic fuel cost followed it.
“As the payload restriction for lorries called Asean Standard enforced in last month, transport charges between Yangon and rural regions almost doubled,” said merchants from countryside.
A tobacco dealer from Mawlamying complained that costs of transport became almost double for that Asean Standard rule since last month. “The tobacco price was high because the transport charge for a bale of it currently rose up to 3000 kyat (over US $3) from its previous price of 1800 kyat (around US $2),” that tobacconist added.
Despite the privatization of fuel trading by the military junta in the middle of last year, prices of petrol and diesel vary two kinds ‘Station Price and Black Market’s’ as private gasoline station are told to sell petrol at the fixed-price 2500 kyat. Black market rate costs 1400 kyat more than the price of stations.
The figures in this news are based on the currency exchange rate of American dollar and Burmese Kyat in illegal trading. According to the statistics of January 2011, the basic pay of an ordinary worker from Yangon clothing industry ranges from 10,000 kyat to 50,000, meanwhile, a factory worker of neighbor country ‘India’ earns US$ 50 at least monthly, and petrol price is only US$ 1.50 there.
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