Ups and Downs
Burma’s currency remains stable: buying rate is 991 kyat to the US dollar, while selling at 996. Gold is up in value from 651,900 kyat per tical to 657,500 kyat. Fuel prices remain constant: petrol 820 kyat; diesel 950 kyat; octane 950 kyat per litre. High-quality Pawsanhmwe rice is still 1,300-1,700 kyat per basket, while low-quality Manawthukha rice is set at 900 kyat per basket at most Rangoon Markets.
3MDG to fund $11.5 million for tuberculosis research
The Three Millennium Development Goal (3MDG) has signed a US$11.5 million agreement with the Burmese Ministry of Health to fund a pilot phase on research into Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). The research, which focuses on developing a shorter drug therapy, is scheduled to begin in May 2015 and will be independently monitored by the WHO.
Master Sports auction fetches $300,000
A government auction of 13,133 movable goods inside the Master Sports factory fetched more than 289 million kyat. The money raised will be used to pay off the stalled salaries of 757 employees. After extracting the cost of maintenance and compensation, the remainder will be passed to the owner, a Korean national, who fled the country without clearing debts.
World Bank backs maternal & infant health care in Burma
The World Bank will loan Burma US$100 million for the Myanmar Essential Health Services Access Project, which will cater to maternal and child health care. Earlier in January, the World Bank pledged to loan $2 billion to Burma for development across the health and energy sectors.
Hong Kong mining firm gets exploration license in Shan State
Asia Pacific Mining Limited (APML), a Hong Kong-based mining company, has received permission from the Burmese government to begin mineral exploration in Shan State. APML, which has been present in Burma for 17 years, announced that it is the first mining development company in Burma to be awarded the AP-4 exploration license.
Japan to supply 3 new ferries for Rangoon
An Inland Water Transportation Department official has announced that three new boats from Japan will replace the rickety river ferries transported 30,000-40,000 passengers daily between the town of Dala and Rangoon for over 50 years. The department official said boat fares will remain the same at 100 kyat (US$0.10) per crossing. He added that the Japanese vessels, built in Hiroshima, cost about $4 million each and construction of new piers at Pansodan and Dala jetties will accommodate the boats when they arrive at the end of October.
Russian satellite broadcaster coming to Burma
The Russian satellite broadcasting firm, GS Group, has announced that it will soon begin broadcasting in Burma. The firm announced its initial plan at the Intergovernmental Russian-Myanmar Commission for trade and economic cooperation held in Naypyidaw.
Tourism in Karen and Mon hit hard by renewed conflict
Tourism operators have warned that the renewed conflict in Karen and Mon states will scare off tourists who want to visit the region via the Myawaddy border checkpoint. Since the Burmese government opened up Karen and Mon states for tourism in 2010, several attractions such as Kyeikhtiyo, the Death Railway, Balu Island, the world’s largest reclining Buddha statue and colonial architecture have proved popular among tourists.
IMF maintains 8.5 percent growth rate prediction
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) emphasized during a regional press briefing on Friday that Burma’s projected growth rate will surpass eight percent for 2014-2015. Jerry Schiff, deputy director for the IMF’s Asia Pacific branch predicted that, “growth will be more than eight percent this year and certainly to grow that rapidly over the medium term,” reported The Global New Light of Myanmar.
Invitations for timber tenders announced
Myanmar Timber Enterprise has invited open tenders for more than 1,000 tonnes of teak and hardwood logs to be sold on 21 October. The bid for tenders opened while MTE have set a target sale of 500,000 tonnes of teak, hardwood and sawed timber for domestic use in 2014-15. In April 2014, a ban on log timber exports was issued by the Burmese government to reduce teak wood extraction and deforestation.
Jade bidding begins at Nawpyidaw
Jade traders have assembled at Maniyadana jade Hall in Naypyidaw for a sale of more than 7,000 gems and jade lots. The Myanmar Gems Emporium announced that the bidding will take place between 16 and 19 October. Around 341 companies are expected to sell an estimated 6,892 jade lots.