BURMA BUSINESS WEEKLY: 19 September 2014

BURMA BUSINESS WEEKLY: 19 September 2014

Ups and downs

The Burmese kyat was selling on Friday at 980 to the US dollar, while buying at 980. The price of gold dropped further from 655,000 kyat per tical to 652,800. 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.

 

Burma attracts $3bn in foreign investment this year

The Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) has announced that Burma took in more than US$3.3 billion in foreign investment in the first five months of the 2014-15 fiscal year—over half the amount targeted by the MIC for the full year. Likewise in 2013-14, Burma exceeded its expected $4 billion foreign investment target by $1 billion.

 

New 5,000 kyat notes to be circulated on 1 Oct

In a bid to prevent forgery and boost security, the Central Bank of Myanmar will issue newly designed 5,000 kyat currency notes starting 1 October. The improved elements in the latest design include a new security thread and watermark along with a new layer of varnish on both sides. The older 5,000 kyat bank notes, introduced in October 2009, will still be valid.

 

MOGE, Brunei sign production agreement for onshore block

Burma’s state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise and Brunei National Petroleum Company signed a production sharing contract for Magwe Division’s EP-1 block on Tuesday, state-run New Light of Myanmar reported. The report said that MOGE will receive a US$3 million “signature bonus” for signing the contracts.

 

Indonesian state bank to open in Rangoon

Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is to open its first ever representative office in Burma in November, the Jakarta Post reported on Saturday. The government-owned central bank says it will open in Rangoon as soon as it receives approval from the Central Bank of Myanmar. The Rangoon office will be jointly operated by BNI and state construction firm WaskitaKarya, the report said, adding that BNI is looking to work alongside Kanbawza Bank and possibly Cooperative Bank.

 

Chin merchants licensed to trade with India

Local merchants in Chin State will be issued Individual Trading Cards (ITCs) by the Ministry of Commerce to allow them to conduct trade with India. The ITC is also an initiative by the government to control illegal border trade and to levy taxes. ITC-issued traders can now conduct export and import transactions worth a maximum of 10 million kyat (US$10,000) in any five-day period.

 

MPT sells 900,000 SIM cards through promotional offers

State-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT) announced that sales reached 900,000 SIM cards during the month of September. The total includes a batch of 250,000 SIM cards with redesigned MPT logos, produced in association with Japanese firm KDDI. Earlier this month, MPT launched discounted SIM cards in retail shops across Burma, competing with newly introduced international telecom service providers.

 

Toyota brings new cars to Burma

Toyota Motors introduced brand new cars to the Rangoon market on Tuesday, state-run New Light of Myanmar reported. The launch of new cars in the Burmese automobile market, which is dominated by used Japanese cars, signals the opening of an important untapped market in the country. With the price of new models ranging from US$20,000 to $200,000, Seiji Kai, Toyota’s Mekong department general manager pointed out that Burma will be the most important market for automakers henceforth, the report said.

 

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