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Ups and downs
The Burmese kyat is stable at: 961 kyat to the dollar, buying rate; and 963 kyat, selling rate. Gold is up in Burma from 665,300 kyat per tical last week to 674,200 kyat this week. The price of fuel remains unchanged: petrol is 820 kyat per litre; diesel 950 kyat; and octane 920 kyat a litre. Rice is up in price at Rangoon markets for the second week running, good-quality Pawhsanmwe selling in Rangoon for 1,300 to 1,600 kyat per basket.
MPE invites foreign bidders for refinery
State-owned Myanmar Petrochemical Enterprise (MPE) is inviting tender for foreign companies to enter into a joint-venture for the production of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) at a refinery in Nyaungdon in the Irrawaddy delta, a move the government says will help tackle the growing demand for natural gas in the country. Currently, there are three LPG refineries in Burma: one in Magwe division’s Minbu, run by Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp; and two Chinese-backed refineries in Nyaungdon and Magwe’s Kyunchaung.
Awards for Burma’s top 100 taxpayers
Burma’s 100 top taxpayers will be presented honorary certificates on Monday by the Internal Revenue Department (IRD), according to an official from Rangoon Division tax office. The awards are based on tax payments for the 2012-13 financial year; Kanbawza Bank has been declared the highest taxpayer for that year. The IRD also announced that 8,000 companies which have failed to pay tax will be prosecuted.
Pepsi enters Burmese market
PepsiCo has reentered the Burmese soft drink market. Pepsi brand drinks had previously been manufactured and distributed in Burma, however economic sanctioning forced the American company out in 1997. Local Burmese firm MGS Co, in conjunction with Korean firm LOTTE Chilsung, is handling product distribution. Bottles of Pepsi now come at the cost of 200 kyat in Burma, as the brand competes with its chief rival, Coca Cola, who opened its first manufacturing plant in Burma in 2013.
Three Novotel five-star hotels to open in Burma
French hotel group Accor has announced the planned opening of three five-star hotels in Burma. The hotels will open in Rangoon, Naypyidaw and Inle Lake respectively. Accor, the company behind the famous Novotel hotel chain, runs hotels and resorts across 92 countries. Novotel Inle Lake is due to be open for guests before the coming November to February tourist season, with Naypyidaw and Rangoon to follow.
Singaporean consultancy firm branches out into Burma
Singaporean firm Surbana International Consultants Pte Ltd, which specialises in consultancy for large-scale construction projects, has opened a branch office in Rangoon. Surbana’s president Liew Mun Leong, speaking at the launch ceremony in Rangoon on Sunday, said the consultancy firm will continue to look to expand in Burma. The firm is currently involved in two housing projects overseen by the Ministry of Construction, and hopes to be involved in a wide range of large construction projects. Transport infrastructure is to be a focus for Surbana, who will pursue links to future airport projects.
Myanmar Film Development Company publicly listed
The Myanmar Film Development Company (MDFC) has been floated as a publicly listed company with shares now available for purchase. The MDFC, founded by many well-known faces of the Burmese film industry, has already sold most of the 150,000 shares placed on sale, according to a company spokesperson. Shares were made available primarily to members of the film industry, although 5,000 are now available to the general public. The MDFC has announced that profit from the sale will be spent on the building a DVD factory in Rangoon.
ADB reaffirms support for Burma
Speaking with Burmese President Thein Sein on 4 April, Takehiko Nakao, president of Asian Development Bank (ADB), praised the social and economic reforms in the country and reaffirmed ADB’s support to speed up development and poverty alleviation. Nakao also mentioned that ADB is keen to support investment in Burma’s energy, transport, urbanisation, agriculture, education and health sectors.
Bank of India paves the way into Burma
The Central Bank of Myanmar has announced that the state-owned Bank of India (BOI) has been given permission to open a representative office in Burma, joining nearly 40 foreign banks which are waiting for the green light to open branches in the country, a move expected this year. Founded in 1906, BOI was nationalised in 1969. It currently has over 4,500 branches in India and across the world.
Burmese garment exports hit $1 billion
The total export value created by Burma’s garment sector in the 2013-14 fiscal year hit a record high, amounting to over US$1 billion, an increase of about 25 percent from the previous year, according to an official from the Ministry of Trade and Commerce who also noted that he expected investment to pour into the garment sector in industrial zones such as the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, construction of which is currently underway.