August 19, 2016

China’s gold foils make Myanmar’s gold foil makers suffer

Workers are making gold foils at an industry in Mandalay.  Photo: Aung Thant Khine
Workers are making gold foils at an industry in Mandalay. Photo: Aung Thant Khine

Myanmar’s gold foil makers are being adversely affected by the higher price of gold and competition from Chinese-made gold foils that have entered the domestic market, said the proprietors of gold foil businesses in Mandalay.
Myanmar’s gold price hit a record high of over Ks850,000 per tickle, resulting in high losses by domestic makers of gold foil. The main market of gold foil businessmen are the pagodas across the nation. Several times a year, the pagoda board of trustees invites a tender to purchase the gold foils. Most of the gold foil makers receive an order at a prevailing market price of Myanmar’s gold when the tenders are invited. Currently, the handicraft gold foil makers cannot compete with China’s cheaper, machine-printed gold foils printed that are penetrating into the domestic market, said one proprietor who is engaged in the gold foil making business in the Myetpayat area.
A member of the Sule Pagoda board of trustees said the Chinese gold foils are not of good quality. Some Chinese manufacturers reduce the size of the gold foil from the traditional two-inch-square folds.
Gold foil businesses in Myanmar can be found only at Myetpayat in Mandalay. There are over 100 businessmen who are engaged in gold foil making on a commercial scale and over 50 on a manageable scale. Pure gold of 16 carats has to be used in making Myanmar’s gold foils. About 2,200 gold foils in two-inch-squares can be manufactured with one tickle of gold. —200


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