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Ups and downs
The Burmese kyat was selling on Friday at 972 to the US dollar, while buying at 980. The price of gold dropped further from 662,000 kyat per tical to 655,000. 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.
ADB predicts 9.5 percent growth by 2030
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday released a report highlighting the possibility of Burma reaching an annual average gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 9.5 percent by 2030. If achieved, this would increase the per capita income to nearly $5,000 from the current figure of $900, according to ADB’s assistant chief economist, Cyn-Young Park, who stressed that the key to achieve the predicted growth rate is upgrading infrastructure and human capital investment in Burma.
South Korea to sponsor US$20m development institute in Burma
South Korea signed a US$20 million Memorandum of Understanding with the Burmese government on Tuesday to fund a national institute for economic and social development in Naypyidaw. The Myanmar Development Institute (MDI) will aid in developing evidence-based policy-making processes through research and consultation. The project is spearheaded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency, under South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
MSF Holland signs MoU on disease control
The Burmese Ministry of Health signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Médecins San Frontières Holland, or AZG, on disease control in Naypyidaw on Monday. Under the two-year agreement, both signatories will shell out US$29.7 million to combat malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, along with maternal health care and child care, in Rangoon Division, Arakan, Chin and Kachin states.
Indonesian firm WIKA to build US$125 million tower in Burma
Indonesian construction firm PT Wijaya Karya (WIKA) and its partner, Singapore-based developer Noble Twin Dragons Pte Ltd, have signed a US$125 million contract to build a commercial tower in Burma. Construction work on the 23-storey Pyay Tower and Residences in Rangoon will commence next month and conclude within two years, reported The Jakarta Post.
Twelve countries race for Rangoon railway station deal
Thirty-four companies from 12 countries have shown interest in a development project with the Rangoon Central Railway Station, Burma’s Ministry of Rail Transportation announced on Monday. The ministry has selected several companies as eligible for tender bidding. Those selected must submit a non-refundable US$30,000 deposit on their committed investment, Myanmar Railways said.
Burma to launch e-lottery system
Burma’s paper lottery tickets will soon be replaced by an electronic system, Ministry of Finance and Revenue Dir-Gen Min Htut told DVB. Due to high printing costs and long waits for paper orders, the electronic system will make the country’s lottery more efficient and affordable, he said. Vendors have also reportedly inflated paper ticket prices, which they will no longer be able to do once the new system is in place.
Malaysian firm to build luxury housing in Rangoon
Malaysia-based Ho Hup Construction Co will collaborate with Burmese Zaygaba Co to construct a high-end housing development in Rangoon’s Mingalardon Park City, Malaysian daily The Star reported. Costing an estimated US$200 million, the Mingala Garden City housing complex will have 190 units on 5,000 square feet of property. The Ho Hup Company will own the development, while Zaygaba will profit from land rental fees, the report said.
Telenor experiences delays building network
Norwegian telecom giant Telenor announced unforeseen delays in setting up their network of 800 – 1000 communications towers in the lead-up to launching their wireless service in Burma this month. With only 600 towers completed, Telenor said the delays were caused by internal problems in Burma such as land disputes, armed conflict and bureaucratic delays in issuing land permits.
Vietnam aims to boost investment in Burma
The Association of Vietnamese Investors in Myanmar (AVIM) has unveiled plans to increase investment in Burma to US$1.5 billion by 2015. At a meeting with Burmese House Speaker Shwe Mann in Hanoi, the AVIM chairman, Tran Bac Ha, indicated that doing so would boost bilateral trade between the countries to $650-700 million. At present, Vietnam has an investment stake of $600 million in Burma with seven ongoing projects.