Ups and Downs
The Burmese currency remains stable, finishing with a buying rate of 963 kyat to the US dollar, compared to 959 last week. The selling rate remains at 966. The price of gold has stabilised in recent weeks and is currently valued at 662,700 kyat per tical. Fuel prices remain unchanged: petrol is 820 kyat per litre; diesel 950 kyat; and octane 920 kyat a litre. Rice also remains constant: high-quality Pawhsanmwe rice is selling at 1,300-1,600 kyat per basket while low-quality Manawthukha retails at 900 kyat per basket in most Rangoon marketplaces.
Sale of Thilawa leasehold rights begins
Leasehold rights for operations in Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) went on sale on Monday, available in 50-year terms with an optional extension of 25 years. Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd (MJTD), a joint venture made up of Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holding Corporation and a consortium of Japanese corporations, namely Mitsubishi, Marubeni and Sumimoto is responsible for the sale. The Japanese firms are also responsible for business support and infrastructure provision and maintenance at Thilawa— including port services and power generation. The MJTD is supported by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Telenor reaffirms Burma link with executive appointment
In a restructuring of its business executive, Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor have appointed former Norwegian ambassador to Burma, Katja Nordgaard, as head of their corporate affairs division. The move will strengthen the link between Telenor and Burma, where the company has pledged to invest US$1billion into telecommunications infrastructure. In 2013, Telenor won one of two highly sought-after licenses to provide telecommunications services in Burma. Ms Nordgaard served as Norwegian Ambassador to Burma between 2010 and 2013.
Kyaukphyu SEZ master plan near completion
The master plan for Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will be presented to the public next month, Myanmar Business Today has reported. The plan is currently being drafted by Creative Professional Groups, a Singaporean consortium that is providing a consultancy service for the Arakanese SEZ project. The release of the plan, which will set out operations at Kyaukphyu until 2050, will pave the way for an invitation for construction tenders for the zone. Garment factories, fishery productions and other small enterprises will reportedly be housed within the SEZ once completed.
Rangoon hotel market to continue record growth
2014 will be another record year for growth in the Rangoon hotel market, according to property research firm Jones Lang LaSalle. Rangoon’s hoteliers were boosted by a 46 percent increase in international customers in 2013, up on 2012 figures. Jones Lang LaSalle expects that expansion to Rangoon’s existing airport, as well as the construction of Hantharwaddy International Airport will again lift the figures as the tourism market is lifted in general. In their report, Jones Lang LaSalle noted that 4,518 rooms are expected to enter the market in the next five years.
Government seek international partner in jet fuel distribution
Myanma Petroleum Product Enterprise (MPPE) is looking for an international partner to join a joint-venture project to improve the delivery of jet fuel in Burma, Reuters has reported. Government-run newspapers ran an advertisement by the state-owned company on Sunday, appealing for partners in a scheme set to improve a distribution system which at this stage accounts for 127 million litres of fuel each year. MPPE currently operates at 11 national airports, including Rangoon, Mandalay and Naypyidaw. The appeal comes as a host of international airlines have opened routes to Burma.
Staff shortage setback for Burma Stock Exchange
The Ministry of Finance is struggling to recruit suitable staff for the soon to be launched Burmese stock exchange, Kyoto News reported this week, citing an unwillingness for public sector employees to give up entitlements to join a private concern. The Burmese government had intended to create a securities and exchange commission in 2014 in the lead up to next year’s stock exchange opening; however that plan has been derailed by the lack of suitable personnel.