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Ups and downs
The Burmese currency has weakened; it was selling on Friday at 1,000 kyat to the US dollar, while buying at 993. The price of gold is at 657,900 kyat per tical. 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.
2015 elections to be held late Oct/ early Nov: UEC
The chairman of Burma’s Union Election Commission, Tin Aye, said on Sunday that next year’s general elections will be held at the end of October or beginning of November. In response, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi told reporters on Monday that the government must ensure “not only free and fair, but timely elections” if Burma is to progress on the path to democracy.
Thai steel giant announces factory in Thilawa
Thai steel company Milcon Steel Plc (MILL) has announced a new steel factory at Thilawa Industrial Estate in Burma as a base for commercial grade production.MILL is reported to have bought a 2.3 hectare site for the factory along with Thai concrete manufacturer General Engineering Plc, according to the Bangkok Post. Earlier in June, MILL signed a joint venture agreement with Thiha group to set up construction operations in Burma.
50 billion invested in Burma by 780 firms
Burma’s Directorate of Investment and Company Administration announced today that, as of 30 September, Burma has received around US$50 billion in total investment from over 780 enterprises registered in over 36 countries since the country opened up to foreign investment in 1989. Topping the list were entities registered in Singapore, 134 of which have invested in Burma since 1989. Recently, the largest investment projects have been in the manufacturing and energy sectors.
JICA backs Rangoon-Mandalay railway upgrade
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is helping Burma’s Ministry of Railway Transportation upgrade the Rangoon-Mandalay railway and make it suitable for trains which travel 100km/hour. Although the project is nearly 75 percent complete, local engineers will need to undergo training courses in land measurement and assessment in order to complete the track upgrade, according to Deputy Minister of Rail Transportation Myint Thein.
CNG-run power plants to be built in Dawei SEZ
Two compressed natural gas (CNG) fired power plants,will be built in the initial zone of the Dawei special economic zone (SEZ). This was confirmed by Minister Aye Miyint, who is the chairman of the Central Working Committee for the implementation of the Dawei SEZ, in The Global New Light of Myanmar.
Chinese firm to build platforms for Zawtika gas field
A Chinese Offshore Oil Engineering Company has been contracted to build US$367 million well-head platforms for the Zawtika gas field in Burma’s Andaman Sea. The gas field is operated by Thai-state owned oil firm PTT Exploration and Production.
Hilton Naypyidaw opens
Luxury chain of hotels Hilton Worldwide opens first hotel at Naypyidaw in a joint venture with Burmese conglomerate Eden Group. Earlier in July Hilton announced its plan to launch five hotels within the next three years in Burma.
Everyone will benefit from Myeik power plant, says Burmese developer
The Managing Director of Ayar Hinthar, a Burmese company involved in the US$ 3.5 billion coal-fired Myeik power plant consortium, has said that within a year Burma will link up with Thailand’s electrical grid and distribute electricity in Burma at low prices.