Ups and Downs
The buying rate for Burmese currency is stable at 961 kyat to the US dollar, but the selling rate has risen slightly from 963 to 966. The price of gold in Burma has been going up and down recently: on 12 April it rose sharply to 674,200 kyat per tical; it has since fallen back to 661,900 kyat. Fuel remains unchanged: petrol is 820 kyat per litre; diesel 950 kyat; and octane 920 kyat a litre.
Rangoon to host electronics expo this weekend
Burma is hosting the International Security and Modern Electronics Expo at Tatmadaw Hall in Rangoon on 25- 27 April. Members of the public are invited to browse the latest in technology from international brands such as Bosch, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, Secom, Nikon, Canon and Hitachi. Seminars on “Private security products and Services” and “Private Security Law” will be held on 26 and 27 April, respectively.
32 percent hike in revenue for Burma’s taxman
Burma’s Internal Revenue Department has announced a 32 percent increase in tax collected in the 2013-14 fiscal year, with payments totalling 3.5 trillion kyat (over US$3.5 billion). The increase is lower than the previous year which saw a 75 percent hike in tax collected. According to the World Bank, Burma’s economy is projected to grow at 6.8 percent in 2013-14. However, in November it raised concerns about the country’s inflation which hit 7.3 percent in August 2013.
Mandalay leads hotel rush
Mandalay Region leads other cities and tourist destinations in Burma with 302 new hotels approved, according to data from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. Out of 960 hotels granted operating licences across the country over the last year, 90 percent were located in the popular tourism areas of Rangoon, Irrawaddy, Pegu, Shan State and Arakan State. A total of 238 new hotels and guest houses opened in Rangoon.
Burma’s border trade booming
Trade across Burma’s borders hit US$4.585 billion in the fiscal year 2013-14, up over $830 million from the year before, local media reported last Saturday. Exports stood at $2.757 billion while imports were valued at $1.827 billion, said the Daily Eleven. Fourteen gateways provide access to four neighboring countries – China, Thailand, Bangladesh and India, of whom China is the leading trading partner.
Garment factories bid for Thilawa
Garment manufacturing accounts for approximately 60 percent of proposed investments in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, according to the zone’s Public Holdings chair Win Aung, who also heads the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Win Aung said that another 15 percent of bids are for electronics manufacture, while auto parts and food products account for 10 percent each.
Mitsubishi Electric opens in Rangoon
Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi Electric Corp opened a Rangoon office on Friday, 25 April. Operating under a Singapore-based subsidiary, Mitsubishi Electric Asia Pte Ltd, the new branch will be based in Bahan Township and is to coordinate Mitsubishi Electric’s efforts to expand business in Burma by conducting market research, collecting information, and providing support for infrastructure projects and local distributors, the firm said on Thursday.
Three Asian firms bid for new airport
Three of four previous contenders to construct Hantharwaddy International Airport have resubmitted their bids, according to an official in Burma’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA). French firm Vinci have not rebid, but Singapore’s Yangnam, South Korea’s Incheon and Japan’s Taisei have all tendered offers for the airport 80km north of Rangoon, tipped to be the country’s biggest gateway for tourists when it opens in 2018. DCA said the deadline for bids ended on 22 April and the winner will be announced in May.
Red Bull wants to energise Burma’s job market
Red Bull Co Ltd, distributor of the world-famous energy drink, has announced it will create over 600 jobs in Burma, including positions 300 sales staff, 200 drivers and administration staff. The drink, highly popular in Burma, was officially banned from broadcasting advertisements on TV under the previous military junta when authorities claimed the drink could cause severe mental problems. Nonetheless it was smuggled into the country due to huge demand.