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Myanmar unrest saps oil product imports, analysts say

LONDON, March 18 (Reuters) - Violent unrest and sanctions are reducing Myanmar’s imports of gasoline and other oil products, energy analysts FGE and Vortexa said on Thursday.

“The widespread unrest has severely impacted businesses in the country, including oil terminal operators,” energy consulting firm FGE said.

“U.S. sanctions have led to foreign banks declining letters of credit from Myanmar banks, which in turn limits trading activities. Furthermore, ongoing protests have obstructed logistical flows and choked ports.”

“The military junta remains unfazed. In the months ahead, even if anti-coup protests were to ease somewhat, it is likely that credit issues due to sanctions will continue to hamper business activities,” FGE added.

Loadings of oil products bound to Myanmar have fallen to about 180,000 tonnes for the second half of March, according to oil analytics and ship tracking firm Vortexa, compared to nearly 600,000 tonnes for all of January.

Gasoil accounts for the most of the fall, followed by gasoline. Most of it is from Singapore and Malaysia, Vortexa added, as well as China, Indonesia and Japan.

Myanmar’s elected leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, was overthrown and detained in a Feb. 1 military coup that has triggered mass protests.

The United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar Thomas Andrews last week called for multilateral sanctions on the junta leaders and on the military-owned Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

Also in the spotlight are international energy companies such as Chevron and France’s Total which have worked in Myanmar for decades.

Commodity trading giant Trafigura’s Puma Energy suspended all operations in Myanmar last month for security reasons.

Reporting by Noah Browning; editing by Jason Neely

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