Ups and downs
The currency exchange rate on Friday held at 1 US dollar to 1,033 kyat; 1 euro to 1,122.5 kyat; 1 Hong Kong dollar to 133.25 kyat; and 1 Bangladeshi taka to 13.26 kyat.
The price of gold in Rangoon on Friday is 683,500 kyat per tical.
Int’l cooperation and spending to tackle increased air traffic
Increasing air traffic through the Bay of Bengal is prompting greater cooperation between Burma, India and Thailand on the issue. The collaboration is improving safety standards, and Burma is also working to increase its technical and disaster response ability, according to Win Swe Tun, director of Burma’s Department of Civil aviation. Air traffic in the country’s airspace brings in revenue, which can be used for training and equipment, according to Myanmar Business Today, as the number of planes along the popular aviation routes rise.
Asian companies eye Burma investment
Over a third of Asian enterprises have plans to move into the Burmese market, according to a recent survey by the United Overseas Bank. Thirty-one per cent of businesses from Hong Kong surveyed said they were looking to invest in the burgeoning economy, as were 28 percent from Thailand. Burma’s untapped natural resources, ongoing investment in infrastructure and liberalisation of the banking sector are drawing investors in, according to the Asian Enterprise Survey.
Burma’s biggest supermarket now accepting Visa
Customers at Burma’s largest supermarket chain can now make payments using their Visa credit and debit cards. The deal with City Mart will make shopping easier for tourists, says Hiro Taylor, Visa’s country manager for Burma. The scheme will also help to “develop the financial infrastructure and expand access to electronic payments across the country,” says Taylor, cited in the Bangkok Post.
CDSG announces food deal with Mitsubishi
Burma’s Capital Diamond Star Group (CDSG) has announced the formation of a joint venture with Japanese giant Mitsubishi Corporation. The two firms have formed Lluvia Ltd to engage in the food manufacturing and distribution businesses throughout the country and around the region. CDSG is one of Burma’s largest conglomerates and a leading supplier of wheat flour and instant beverages. It says that Lluvia plans to invest more than US$200 million over the next three years in the Burmese food business.
Office for migrant workers to open in Tokyo
Burmese migrant workers in Japan, the world’s third largest economy, will have greater representation when an office of the Myanmar Overseas Employment Agencies Federation (MOEAF) opens in Tokyo in April. The opening will supposedly coincide with an increase of jobs in the construction industry, fisheries, hospitality and agricultural sectors, according to a report in Myanmar Business Today.
Indian-Burmese oil production sharing contract agreed
Indian-owned Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has finalised production sharing agreements with the Burmese government’s Myanma Oil & Gas Enterprise (MOGE). RIL won their bid for the M17 and M18 blocks in 2013, and it is now agreed that they will operate the blocks with a 96 per cent participation interest. A second Burmese company, United National Resources Development Services, assume the remaining 4 percent interest, according to India media reports.
First ever export strategy identifies ‘priority sectors’
Burma’s first ever National Export Strategy (NES), which aims to encourage sustainable development through export promotion, was launched on 25 March. The programme, which has identified “priority sectors” for export promotion such as textiles; beans, pulses and oilseeds; fisheries; forestry products; rubber; and tourism, consists of a five-year plan to strengthen small companies and increase exports and trade diversification.
Poor ethics hamper Burma’s growth, says official
Burmese businesses are struggling to meet necessary ethical standards, says Dr Wah Wah Maung of the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Development, who Myanmar Business Today cites as saying: “Here, business-people have very weak ethics. For example, they engage in illegal trade, promote shoddy products and they can’t market Myanmar [Burmese] brands internationally.” Adherence to ethical practice allows businesses to compete on the global market, Wah Wah Maung said, during her speech at a commerce and industry convention, highlighting Thailand as an example to follow.
Businesses risk violating new competition law
Businesses have been warned they have one year to get to grips with Burma’s new competition law, which aims to enshrine competition in the economy. Adopted in late February, the law ostensibly inhibits market dominance through monopolies, unfair competition or mergers, and contains a one-year preparation period. International tax advisory firm VDB Loi released a brief warning clients that “those in beverages, aviation, banking, telecommunications, utilities, and distribution may have to self-examine their practices very closely for compliance with the Act.”