Myanmar Factory Output Returns to Record Low
The escalating military crackdown against citizens unfolding in the wake of the February 1 coup is heaping pressure on manufacturers in the emerging garment hub, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
Released Thursday, the country’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) conducted between March 12 and 23 hit 27.5, down from February’s 27.7. Any figure below 50 indicates a contraction and March’s number renews a record low from when the survey began in 2016. Input prices rose for the sixth consecutive month in March.
In recent months, global retailers from H&M to Benetton have suspended orders with suppliers in the manufacturing hub due to mounting instability. In addition to garment workers taking part in protests, inflation and both local and global supply chain disruptions, a number of factories have also dealt with fires believed to be arson attacks.
There’s no end in sight for local businesses and foreign investors. This week’s announcement by the US Trade Representative’s office that it would cut off all trade engagement with Myanmar will likely scare business away. The World Bank said in a recent report that it expects Myanmar’s economy to shrink 10 percent in the fiscal year ending September 2021 after growing 1.7 percent the previous year.
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