Ups and downs
The Burmese kyat was selling on Friday at 995 to the US dollar, while buying at 990. The price of gold increased from 652,800 kyat per tical to 654,500. 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.
Germany’s KfW and GIZ pledge €27 million for development
German development bank KfW and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) opened offices in Rangoon on Thursday, The New Light of Myanmar reported on Friday. GIZ will invest seven million euros in rural development in Burma, of which five million euros will be reserved for upgrading roads in Shan State. German bank KfW, will also invest 20 million euros on human resource development courses, along with development of rural sector, infrastructure and transport.
Govt gives green light for wine imports
The Burmese government will soon allow the import of foreign wine brands, according to an official. Trade and Commerce Minister Win Myint said that the ministry has already approved the import of foreign wine and is waiting for the Finance and Revenue Ministry to set duty rates. Import and sale of foreign alcohol is currently prohibited in Burma with the exception of certain venues including duty free shops at international airports and some hotels.
Nestlé to open factory in Burma
Swiss food giant Nestlé expects to begin distribution of its domestically produced goods by late 2016, the company announced in Rangoon last week. With an investment of US$25 million, Nestlé plans to establish a factory in the Dagon Seikkan Industrial Zone. The facility will initially manufacture coffee products and is expected to later expand into diary and chocolate. Nestlé will partner with Myanmar Distribution Group for domestic circulation. At present, Nestle products in Burma are imported from Thailand.
Burmese investment forum held in New York
The Myanmar Investment Outreach Forum was held in New York City on 24 September. Aimed at promoting Burma as an investment ground, the conference facilitated interactions between Burmese and American ministers, policymakers, businesspersons and representatives of multinationals across sectors such as finance, infrastructure, energy, tourism,logistics and manufacturing.
Rangoon train fees to be doubled
Myanmar Railways Enterprise says it plans to double the price of tickets on Rangoon trains. According to an official from Rangoon regional office, the current round-trip fee of 100 kyat (US$0.10) will soon become 200 kyat. He said that the hike was because Myanmar Railways was running at a loss. He said income was 8 million kyat daily but the cost of diesel alone was 9 million kyat every day.
Electricity for all by 2030, says govt
Burma’s Ministry of Electric Power says that it has increased access to electricity by 33 percent during the first three years of Thein Sein government rule. Furthermore, according to Electricity Minister Khin Maung Soe, it is looking to ensure that every household in the country has electricity by 2030. Speaking this week at a workshop in Naypyidaw co-sponsored by the World Bank, he said that more than three million households now have access to the national grid.
CAOG Sarl to begin energy production
Luxembourg-based CAOG Sarl and local partner Apex Geo Services have signed a production sharing contract with state-owned Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise for oil exploration at the MOGE4 onshore block in Irrawaddy Division, awarded in October 2013. The contract requires that the companies perform environmental and social impact assessments and cooperate with the regional government for local development. MOGE will receive a US$2 million signing bonus for the agreement.
Burma set to export 60,000 tons of rice to Africa
Burma will export 60,000 tons of rice to Africa in October, announced Soe Tun, joint-secretary of the Myanmar Rice Federation. Entry into the African market was announced after Burmese rice exports to China, through the border checkpoints, were halted due to a security crackdown. Meanwhile, China’s agriculture minister and Burmese exporters are engaged in discussions aimed at resolving the impasse.
Thai PM’s visit to Burma will boost delayed Dawei port plan
Burma’s stalled Dawei development project is expected to get a big boost when Thai Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, visits the country next month. State visit is scheduled for 7 October, said a source. Although the prime minister has yet to specify the exact schedule, the visit is likely to be early in October, said Pisanu Suvanajata, Thai ambassador to Rangoon. A source at a working group on the Dawei project said Burma wants the initial phase to begin in November. Gen Prayut has also ordered agencies concerned, to support the project following recent visits by Burmese military leaders to Thailand.
MPT connectivity suffering from lack of towers
Recently launched Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) SIM cards are facing connectivity issues in many parts of Burma due to lack of network towers. The 1,500 kyat (US$1.50) MPT SIM card holders from Chin, Karenni and Arakan states have reported that the network connectivity is very weak and available only in select regions of their states. Without adequate network towers in Burma, industry observers believe that new international providers Ooredo and Telenor will face similar problems.
Thilawa shares to go on market this year
Shares of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone in Rangoon Division will be sold through an over-the-counter stock market. Priced at US$10 each, buyers will be limited to 500 shares as demand is more than double the amount of stocks available.Eighteen foreign companies from countries including China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the United States have already made investment proposals for phase one of the project.
Burma’s air traffic up 60% – but where are the passengers?
Burmese domestic airlines are operating 60 percent more aircraft in the three years since President Thein Sein came to power, but the number of passengers has increased only 14 percent, according to the Directorate of Air Transport. In 2011-12, there were just 29 planes in Burma’s skies; this year there are 46. However, the number of passengers only increased from 1.5 million to 1.7 million. The domestic carriers are: Myanmar Airways, Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Kanbawza, Asia Wings, Shwe Myanmar, Mann Yadanarpon and MAI.