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Ups and downs
The Burmese kyat was selling on Friday at 1037 to the US dollar, while buying at 1025. The price of gold stands at 660,000 kyat per tical. Fuel prices remain constant: petrol 820 kyat; diesel 950 kyat; octane 950 kyat per litre.
Foreign investors invited to consider SEZ projects
International investors have been invited by the Myanmar Investment Commission to signal their interest in three of Burma’s upcoming special economic Zones: Thilawa, Dawei and Kyaukphyu. At the 11th ASEAN Summit on 12 November, the secretary of the MIC , Aung Naing Oo, extended the offer to the foreign delegations present and stated that the first priority for investors should be labour-intensive industries, followed by value-added and hi-tech sectors.
Garuda Airlines and MAI sign code-sharing agreement
Indonesia’s Garuda Airlines signed a code-sharing agreement with Myanmar Airways International (MAI) on 25 November as part of efforts to boost economic ties between Burma and Indonesia. The deal takes effect in December 2014 and will connect passengers to and from Rangoon and Jakarta via Bangkok and Singapore airports. Around 55,000 people have travelled between Burma and Indonesia for business and sight-seeing, said Sithu, the managing director of MAI.
China Burma sign US$ 7.5 billion deal
China signed a US$ 7.8 billion investment deal with Burma during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Naypyidaw during the recent ASEAN summit. With a major portion of the investment focusing on the energy sector, the deals also extended to include the agriculture, telecommunications and infrastructure sectors. Chinese investment in Burma stood at $14 billion out of a total $50 billion foreign investment.
Foreign residency applications considered
Burma’s Ministry of Immigration and Population has indicated that a permanent residency system for foreigners will be launched in the first week of December. It will reportedly enable foreigners to apply to stay in Burma for five years with possibilities for extensions.
Military firm enters telecoms market
Burmese military-owned Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) plans to become a telecommunications operator in the near future, according to Minister for Communications and Information Technology Myat Hein. MEC will be the fourth operator in Burma alongside government-run Myanmar Post and Telecommunications, Norway’s Telenor and Qatar-based Ooredoo. Myat Hein pledged that all operators will be allowed to compete freely compete in the marketplace. MEC currently sells pre-paid cards for MPT under the brand MECTel.
Japan, Thailand ‘hesitating’ on Dawei
Speaking in Burma’s lower house of parliament on Wednesday, Minister for National Planning and Economic Development Kan Zaw announced that Japan and Thailand – assumed to be the prime investors in the Dawei deep-sea port project in Tenasserim – are hesitating.
Latpadaung mine ‘must be halted’ pending EIA, says Amnesty
Marking two years since Buddhist monks and activists were brutally attacked by riot police at the Latpadaung copper mine site, Amnesty International (AI) has issued a press release highlighting ongoing problems associated with the project. Amnesty said the mine is likely to causes further human rights abuses and is calling for the project to be halted until a proper environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) is carried out.
Rice price volatility in Burma must be addressed, says World Bank
The price of rice in Burma has increased by 41 percent between 2009 and 2013, a rate much higher than neighbouring competitors Thailand and Cambodia. This has led to a decrease in Burmese rice exports and food security at home, according to a recent report by the World Bank.