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Business weekly 29 May

Ups and downs

The Burmese currency on Friday was valued at 1,090 kyat per US dollar; 1,194.7 kyat per euro; 140.58 kyat per Hong Kong dollar; and 24.456 kyat per Philippines peso. Gold was buying at 39,810.63 kyat per gram and selling at 44,001.22 kyat per gram.

Central Bank to issue new 10,000 kyat note

A new version of the 10,000 kyat note will be issued on 15 June by the Central Bank of Myanmar to increase the “security status” of the currency, according to an announcement in the government-owned Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Friday. The new note will have a “new type of shiny emerald number”, a revised watermark image of a white lotus and a protective film on both sides to reduce forgeries and prolong circulation life. Those 10,000 kyat notes currently in circulation will still be accepted as legal tender.

Parliament approves new international loans for infrastructure

Burma’s parliament on Thursday approved a series of international loans to improve the country’s infrastructure, state media reports. The South Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund will loan Naypyidaw US$137.83 million to be used by the Ministry of Construction for rural development in Rangoon and Irrawaddy divisions. MPs also voted to approve US$21 million in loans from the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the electric power and transport ministries.

Japan assists in Burmese postal system upgrade

Japan is to continue providing help to Burma as it upgrades its postal system to include options such as money transferring in-branch and other ICT-based services, according to a memorandum of understanding signed on Tuesday, the Bangkok Post reports. Following an initial agreement in April 2014, experts from the Japan Post Service Company visited Burma with technical advice, leading to improved over-the-counter services and shortened delivery times, according to Burma’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.


Sompo Japan granted license to sell insurance in Thilawa

A license was granted to Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance on Monday to sell insurance products within Burma, the first of such licenses to be issued by the Burmese government. In 2014 Burma permitted foreign insurance companies into special economic zones (SEZs), with applications solicited this month. Sompo Japan will conduct business only in Thilawa SEZ and will be able to sell fire, cargo and life insurance products. It will principally target Japanese companies in Thilawa, according to Nikkei Asia Review.

Singapore leads investment in new tax year

Singapore has invested over US$1.4 billion as of the beginning of the tax year on 1 April, the largest amount by any country, with the Netherlands being the second largest investor with $430.45 million. Singapore has a high stake in the tourist industry, with forty percent of hotels owned by Singaporeans, according to Burmese state-run Global New Light of Myanmar. During April 11 countries invested a total $2.2 billion in the Burmese economy.

Hopes that new Thai-Burma crossing will boost border trade

The celebratory opening of a new permanent Thai-Burma border crossing took place on 23 May. With crossings over the Singkhorn Pass between Thailand’s Muang District and Tennasserim in Burma previously only allowed on Saturday, Thai officials reported that trade could grow from the current 4 billion baht (US$119 million) a year to 12 billion with the checkpoint functioning every day. The main exports through the crossing from Thailand are manufactured consumer products, construction materials and oil, while Burma exports principally seafood and agricultural products to its neighbour.

New law will help Burmese physiotherapists shape-up

A new twenty-page law will provide guidelines on duties, responsibilities and ethics for Burmese physiotherapists, according to the Myanmar Physiotherapy Association which is drawing up the bill. The law will create favourable working conditions for therapists as well as weed out fraudulent practitioners, says state-run Global New Light of Myanmar, which reports there are around 1,400 physiotherapists in the country, with many leaving to work abroad after training.



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