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Business weekly 17 April 2015

Ups and downs 

The currency exchange rate on Friday held at 1 US dollar to 1,070 kyat; 1 euro to 1,141.9 kyat; 1 Japanese dollar to 887.93 kyat; and 1 Nepalese rupee to 10.702 kyat. 

The price of gold in Rangoon on Friday is 682,805 kyat per tical.

Burma’s rubber industry stuck behind competitors

Burma’s rubber industry will see more inspections, certification and technical assistance to bring it up to par with other countries, according to Win Myint of the Ministry of Economic and Trade. Currently Burmese rubber can fetch as little as two-thirds of the market price due to its low quality, earning around US$1,300 – US$1,500 per tonne, as opposed to the international market price of $1,800. China reportedly buys 70 percent of the 80,000 tonnes of Burmese rubber exported per year.

New guidelines for food, drug manufacturers

Official guidelines for Burma’s food and medical industries are being penned by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA are drawing up the regulations in line with the specifications of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). “In addition to cosmetics, medical machines and devices that are distributed to the market will also be brought in line with ASEAN drug standards,” said Khin Saw Hla, assistant director of the FDA, cited in Myanmar Business Today.

Thai firm hopes for long-term profits from Burma construction

Thai construction giant Ch. Karnchang Plc (CK) is investigating opportunities for infrastructure development in Burma. Feasibility studies are being carried out in the Rangoon area, according to a Bangkok Post report, which says that a potential drinking-water development in Moulmein [Mawlamyine] would also pave the way for investment in that area. The company’s focus is on ASEAN neighbours Laos and Burma as they have a demand for infrastructure, and CK could profit from energy projects upon completion, says company executive Vorapote Uchupaiboonvong.


Burma’s trade gap widens

Burma’s trade deficit for the financial year 2014-15 totalled US$4.9 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Imports to the country amounted to $16.34 billion while exports totalled $11.45 billion. The previous year’s deficit was $2.65 billion. Burma’s principal exports are products of agriculture, farming, fisheries, mining and forestry, while imports include consumer products, raw materials and investment goods, according to Myanmar Business Today.

Suzuki announce second car plant

Japanese carmaker Suzuki plans to open a second car plant in Burma, Agence France-Presse reports, which will produce around 10,000 cars a year. Suzuki already owns the country’s only existing car factory. The site for the plant has reportedly already been secured at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, with construction due to begin later this year, and production set to commence in 2017.


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