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Ups and downs
The US dollar buys 981 kyat and sells for 987 kyat, that’s two points higher than last week. Gold is currently valued at 643,800 kyat per tical, which is 10,500 kyat down from last week. Fuel remains the same price: petrol is 820 kyat per litre, diesel 940 kyat and octane 920 kyat per litre. Good quality rice remains at 1,200- 1,300 kyat per basket, with low-quality emata rice sill selling for 850- 900 kyat per basket.
Rangoon plans economic zones with Japanese backing
Rangoon city mayor and Minister of Yangon Region Development Affairs Hla Myint told the regional parliament on 10 December that the government is working with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to develop 10 areas in Rangoon into economic centres or industrial zones. The mayor said the plan is to develop areas in Hlaing Tharyar, Mayangon, Dagon Myothit, Hmawbi, Hlegu, Thanlyin, Dala, Tontay and Htantabin townships, as well as the Japanese-backed Thilawa port zone and the Pegu riverfront into economic centres, which will also include housing projects of around one million apartments to accommodate the growing population of the city.
Overland rice exports to China in decline
Rice exports to China via the Muse border trade zone have been in decline recently as Burmese retailers export less due to what they consider uneconomical pricing. China, in order to cater for its domestic demand, has instead secured a government-to-government agreement with Thailand to import three million tons of rice. Around 800,000 tons of rice were exported to China via Muse in northern Shan state in the last fiscal year, but this year, only 200,000 tons have been exported as of December. The current price in Muse for 25 percent broken emata rice is between US$410 and $420 per ton.
Philippine airlines on course for Burmese holidays
Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific Air are to introduce new scheduled flight services to Burma to accommodate greater demand, according to local newspaper Pyi Myanmar. Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla of the Civil Aeronautics Board of the Philippines is cited saying that they are in negotiation with Burma’s civil aviation authorities to facilitate the proposed flights. Vice-President Jorenz Tanada of Cebu Pacific said the airline’s flights would contribute to the development of tourism in Burma. The announcement comes a week after a visa exemption deal was signed between Burma and the Philippines.
South Korean soft drinks firm pops a Burma deal with Pepsico
South Korea-based firm Lotte Chilsung is to distribute and retail soft drink products in partnership with US-based Pepsico, says Burma’s Directorate of Investment and Companies Administration (DICA). According to an Eleven Media report on 17 December, the company has applied for permission to open a branch office in Burma. Lotte Chilsung Beverages is one of Asia’s largest drinks company, holding a 35 percent stake in South Korea’s domestic market. It manufactures various products such as fizzy drinks, juices, coffee, tea, soybean drinks and mineral water which it exports to 30 countries such as Japan, the USA, China, Vietnam and Russia.
Yoma, Sumitomo ink deal to distribute Hino trucks
Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd says it has entered into a joint venture agreement with Sumitomo Corp and First Myanmar Investment Co Ltd (FMI) for the purposes of establishing a joint venture company to operate authorized service stations for, and to distribute, Hino trucks and buses in Burma, according to a Reuters report on 18 December. Sumitomo will hold 60 percent of the stake, with FMI and Yoma taking 20 percent each, the report said.
Savills opens real estate office in Rangoon
Leading British realtor Savills opened its first office in Rangoon on 16 December. Citing the city’s strong recent growth and increasing opportunities in the country, Savills announced on its website: “In the past year, Yangon office rents have increased by 80 percent, five star hotel room rates have increased by 70 percent, serviced apartment rents have gone up 50 percent and quality retail rents have climbed 10 percent.” Chris Marriott, CEO of Savills South East Asia, said, “Opening in Myanmar is another step in our vision to build strength in the ASEAN region as a precursor to the establishment of the new economic community in 2015,”
Mitsubishi buys share in Yetagun oil project
Mitsubishi Corporation announced this week its entry into a share purchase agreement with JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation (JX NOEX) for the acquisition of a 10 percent share of Nippon Oil Exploration (Myanmar) Limited (NOEM). JX NOEX is a 50 percent shareholder of NOEM, which in turn holds a 19.3 percent participating interest in an upstream oil and gas project and gas pipelines in Block M-12/13/14 in the Andaman Sea, including the Yetagun gas field. Mitsubishi confirmed that this was to be the firm’s first participation in an upstream oil and gas project in Burma.