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Business Weekly 6 March 2015

Ups and downs

The currency exchange rate on Friday was 1 US dollar to 1,027 kyat; 1 euro to 1,132 kyat; 1 Norwegian kroner to 132.22 kyat and 1 South African rand to 87,018 kyat.

US$80 million paid out for affordable housing

The Construction and Housing Development Bank (CHD Bank) has announced it intends to lower its interest rates as it looks to increase its loans from countries including South Korea. CHD Bank, which has operated under the supervision of the Ministry of Construction since its establishment last year, has issued over 80 billion kyat (US$80 million) in loans, according to a report in Myanmar Business Today. Its recipients include public and private developers of affordable housing projects.

Thai steelmaker forges Thilawa contract

Thai steelmaker Millcon Plc is expected to start its operations in Burma next year after being granted a license to invest in Thilawa Special Economic Zone, according to Bangkok Post, which quoted chief executive Sittichai Leeswadtrakul as saying that its factory was due to be ready by the year’s end and would start operating commercially in early 2016. Millcon is partnered with General Engineering Plc, a concrete materials maker.

YSX licence application window extended

Companies wishing to operate on the Yangon Stock Exchange, due to open later this year, can now apply for licences until 6 March. The deadline for underwriting, trading, brokerage and consultancy firms has been extended from 27 February, according to the Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Rangoon. More than 100 applications have been made so far, and successful applicants will be announced around mid-April, an official is quoted as saying in state-run Global New Light of Myanmar. 

[related]

French help for underfunded Mandalay development

A plan to provide the entire Mandalay region with electricity is receiving less than a quarter of the necessary funding from the government, according to a local official. Mandalay’s Minister for Electricity and Industry Kyaw Myint told Myanmar Business Today that out of the 39 billion kyat (US$39 million) needed, the government has assigned only 8 million kyat. French companies are currently involved in assessing urban development options for the region, and funding from the Asian Development Bank may follow, according to the French embassy in Rangoon.

Ministers on ASEAN trade commitment

 Trade ministers from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to tackle barriers to trade beyond tariffs, now that 97.3 percent of inter-ASEAN trade is duty free, according to a report in Burma’s state-run Global New Light of Myanmar. Such measures would include customs simplification and harmonisation of standards. The ministers at a meeting in Kota Bharu in Malaysia on Sunday restated their commitment to establishing an ASEAN Economic Community by the end of the year.

Thai firms agree Dawei signing ceremony

Two Thai construction companies are expected to sign an agreement with the Burmese government to start developing the first phase of the Dawei megaproject later this month. Somjet Tinnapong, the managing director of Dawei Development Co, a subsidiary of Italian-Thai Development Plc, said the contract would involve Ital-Thai and Rojana Industrial Park Plc. The first phase will cover 17,000 rai of land or about 27 sq km at a cost of $US650 million, he said.

Read more: HERE

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