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Business weekly 16 January 2015

Ups and downs

The Burmese kyat exchange rate on Friday was at 1,029 kyat to US$1. It was 1,198 kyat to 1 Euro, and 32 kyat to 1 Thai baht. The price of gold rose slightly over the past week to 677,000 kyat per tical.

Gearing up for Burma’s new stock exchange

Applications for licenses to practice on the Yangon [Rangoon] Stock Exchange (YEX), set to open in October 2015, have been given the go-ahead by the Burmese Securities and Exchange Commission (SECM) by Maung Maung Thein, Deputy Minister for Finance and Revenue and SECM Chairman. Underwriting, dealing, brokerage and consultancy businesses will be able to apply for the licenses, with certification costs ranging from 7 billion kyat (US$ 7 million) to 30 billion kyat, depending on the type of business.

Read the DVB story here.

Animal parts seized

Illegal wildlife parts – including animal horns, claws, teeth, bones, and the skins of leopards and tigers – were seized by the Burmese police force in Muse on Saturday.

Authorities searched the house of a 53-year old man in the town on the China-Burma border after receiving a tip off, according to Global New Light of Myanmar. The action was taken by police officers and officials from the Ministry of Environmental Conservation and Forestry. The trade in wildlife parts has risen significantly in recent years.

Government plans retirement benefits

Retirees from government and private companies will be able to benefit from free education, health care services and insurance, social security and legal assistance under the Myanmar Provident Fund, according to President’s Office Minister Hla Tun. Ministers and officials from groups including the Central Bank of Myanmar, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Construction took part in discussions, where the need to care for service personnel and private companies’ staff was highlighted, state media reported

Timber exports cut at the roots

 The export of raw timber products from Burma has dropped by nearly US$500 million since a ban came into force last April. The Ministry of Commerce says that figure accounts for 92 percent of the trade. Under the timber ban, the export of unprocessed timber is banned, but processed wooden products are still allowed. However the black market trade appears to continue. Burma’s military announced last week that nearly 150 suspected timber smugglers had been arrested on the Chinese border.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

[related]

OECD issue report on Burma

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a forum of 34 countries which aims to address globalisation issues, released a new report on Burma on Wednesday, part of the group’s ongoing Multi-dimensional Review of Myanmar [Myanmar] project. Of the latest economic investigation, it says that “overall, the report finds that the need for reform is immense.” A number of recommendations for essential progress were made. There were calls to make a structural transformation towards a more manufacturing and service-based economy, filling the skills gap and financing development.

Read the DVB story here.

Price of beans and pulses set to rise

Official sources have said that an increase in the price of Burmese beans and pulses is likely, attributing the rise to the ascending value of the US dollar. Citing the annual production of 1.2 million tons of beans and pulses, an article in the Global Light of Myanmar quotes a bean exporter as saying that the higher demand for the products in foreign markets where harvests have been affected by floods and heavy rains is also pushing up the price.

India imports 5,000 tonnes of Burmese rice

Five thousand tonnes of rice will be exported from Burma to the state of Manipur, India, next month, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh has been quoted in Indian state media as saying. Indian Railways works in Assam have affected the availability of rice in the region, he added.

Business books in Indiana-Rangoon partnership

Almost 2,000 books, focusing on business and economics and including teaching manuals, are being donated from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business to Rangoon University, AP has reported. The donations will include many books donated from faculty members’ extensive personal libraries, programme manager Jonathan Crum has said. The partnership is part of a three-year Global Development Alliance project between the universities.

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