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Cheap Cooking Oil Imports Hit Burmese Producers
By MAY LAY / THE IRRAWADDY| November 14, 2012 |
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A vendor sells cooking oil at a market in Rangoon. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON — A sharp increase in palm oil imports from Malaysia over the past two years is causing more Burmese consumers to switch from relatively costly peanut oil, dealing a serious blow to domestic peanut oil millers.

“Imported palm oil is nearly as good as peanut oil. It has a clear color and the price is cheaper, so more people are choosing it,” said Sein Naing, the owner of an edible oil trading company at the Theingyi commodities market in Rangoon.

He noted that brand-name peanut oil now costs more than twice as much as imported palm oil—4,500 kyat (US $5.20) per viss (1.63 kg), compared to just 1,800-2,000 kyat ($2.10-2.30) for the same amount of palm oil.

Part of the reason for the high price of peanut oil is the rising price of peanuts on the domestic market, driven by strong demand for Burmese peanuts in China. “The price of peanuts has gone up a lot because of border trade with China,” said Myint Oo, the owner of a peanut oil mill in Prome.

Another problem, he said, is that Burmese oil mills don’t have modern equipment, and so can’t produce for the international market. This has left them entirely dependent on shrinking Burmese demand for their product.

And while peanut growers are enjoying strong sales to China, many lament the fact that they are only able to sell raw materials at low prices, and lack the means to sell value-added products.

With the value of Malaysia’s palm-oil exports to Burma reaching a record $682 million in the first half of this year, the best hope for the domestic cooking-oil industry is more foreign investment to improve its access to more advanced technology.

At a press conference on Nov. 1, Malaysia’s minister of plantation industries and commodities, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, said Malaysian companies were exploring the possibility of investing in palm plantations and oil processing plants in Burma.

“Malaysia and Myanmar trade in three main sectors: palm oil, rubber and timber. We see how we can maximize long-standing business relationships between our two countries,” he said ahead of a planned meeting with President Thein Sein.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
121,821 Posts
Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Jetro: Boom in Myanmar aids Asean
FDI crucial to strategy based on exports

Published: 28 Feb 2013

Asean as a whole will benefit from foreign direct investment (FDI) as Myanmar starts to see improved cash flow in key sectors, says the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro).

Toshihiro Kudo, senior research fellow at Jetro's Institute of Developing Economies, said Myanmar has long been a missing link in the region despite having a strategic geographical position among Asean members.

"The electrical/electronics and apparel sectors in Myanmar are enjoying foreign direct investment that is supporting its export-oriented growth strategy," he said.

Myanmar's emergence and its increasing engagement with international communities are of great significance to the enhanced connectivity of the region.

Mr Kudo said service link costs need to be reduced for Myanmar to join the region's production networks and to attract multinational firms to relocate there.

Lower service link costs will enlarge its production network with Cambodia and Laos to export to other Asean countries, Japan and South Korea, he said.

Exports could be made through Thailand under the country's free trade agreements and regional agreements with partners such as India and China.

Mr Kudo said FDI will play a crucial role in Myanmar's electrical and electronics sector as well as other machinery production.

Foreign firms including joint ventures will increase their presence in the textile and apparel industry in Myanmar too, he said.

Providing information and statistics as well as consistent and clear-cut investment promotion policies such as those of Thailand are vital to attract FDI.

"The recent Myanmar boom has attracted many business missions. If Myanmar fails to meet their expectations, however, the boom may function as an amplified speaker of negative news to the international business community," Mr Kudo said.

Myanmar's new foreign investment law, which took effect late last year, does not have an English version, so foreign investors remain unclear about what they can do there and with what conditions, he said.

While Myanmar's developments could intensify FDI competition with neighbouring countries, the country should be viewed as a complementary base in Asean. Japanese and South Korean firms are keen to invest but will do so through Thailand, he said.

Koji Kubo, a research fellow at Jetro Bangkok, said some challenges remain in Myanmar's foreign exchange market, with gaps between rates in the public and private sectors as well as within the private sector itself.

Myanmar still relies on cash, and exporters are encouraged to sell their foreign exchange to banks, he said.

26,716 Posts
Gold price plunges but dollar soars in Myanmar after its New Year
Eleven Myanmar
Friday, 19 April 2013 23:58

As commercial activities resumed yesterday in Myanmar after 4-day of celebrating traditional New Year Water Festival, gold price has fallen US$56 per tical ($97 per ounce) but US dollar exchange rate against Myanmar currency ‘kyat’ (K) rose from K884 to K897.

A fall in gold price took place globally after Cyprus reported to sell off its 14 tonnes of gold holdings according to its central bank’s bailout plan. The global gold price fell from US$1,580 per ounce in April’s 2nd week to US$1,338 on April 12, although it recovered up to US$1394 per ounce yesterday.
This affected Myanmar’s gold price whose fall ranged from US$56 to $86 per tical (0.576 ounce). A tical of gold was K739,500 ($840) on April 12 before the Water Festival, but it fell to K668,500 ($760) on April 18 when the market opened again yesterday. By that evening, the price was a bit up again and reached K691,000 per tical.
Win Myint, Secretary of Yangon Division Gold Entrepreneurs Association, said, “Due to financial crisis international banks sell off gold and it causes gold price fall globally. It leads to a similar fall in gold price in Myanmar. They are interrelated and so gold price in Myanmar will change depending on the global gold price. [We] won’t control it. It will follow the changes in the global gold price.”

Meanwhile, Myanmar currency ‘kyat’ has weakened against US dollar, and dollars are traded at higher than official prices in the market during the long holiday. The dollar price rose from K884 on April 11 to K897 yesterday in the market. In fact, the official exchange price was lower than that rate.
The exchange rate was set at K877 per dollar at authorized cash exchange counters on April 11 which is before the 10-day holiday for Myanmar New Year. Those authorized cash counters closed on April 12 to 21, and this was one factor which led to the rise in dollar exchange rate. They will open again on April 22.


Myanmar's gold price unsteady due to gold rush
Eleven Myanmar
Saturday, 20 April 2013 23:41

Myanmar's gold price is still unstable as local buyers rush to purchase the items following a recent plunge in price.
After the Water Festival, the market opened on Thursday with K668,500 (US$760) per tical but the price later rose to K691,000 (US$780) per tical in the evening due to gold hoarders.
The market first opened yesterday with K695,000 (US$790) per tical, but the price rose to K706,000 (US$805) and then to K 720,000 (US$820) within a few minutes. The price later dropped to K710,000 (US$809).

There is also a difference of K20,000 (US$22) per tical between different gold shops.
According to most gold shops, they are selling the gold around the average price of K720,000 (US$820) per tical.
Although global gold price affects Myanmar's gold price, the global gold price is steady based on the fallen price in these days while changes are seen in the Myanmar's gold market.

Note: 1 Tical (ကျပ်သား kyattha) is 16.3293 g

Kiwi to the rescue
1,973 Posts
Myanmar Real Estate Prices Skyrocketing, Largest City Yangon Has One Of The Highest Rental Rates In Asia, Due To Business Demands

Commercial real estate is booming in Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon as foreign companies respond to economic and political reforms by setting up shop in the Southeast Asian nation.

Top-end office spaces in the city are commanding rents higher than anywhere in Asia with the exception of Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo, and numerous skyscrapers are in development to meet the rapidly increasing demand.

Top-end office rents in Yangon go for about $90 per square meter currently, more than rents in Bangkok, Singapore and even parts of New York, according to the Bangkok Post, a Thai newspaper.

For years, Yangon’s buildings remained stunted compared to cities in more prosperous Southeast Asian neighboring countries. Until recently, only three buildings in Yangon reached above 20 stories – Sakura Tower, Center Point Towers, both mainly offices, and Traders Hotel by Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts.

In recent months, more ambitious building projects have broken ground.
Shangri-La began building a 20-story extension to the Traders Hotel. Living Square Company is due to start building a 27-story executive residence complete with penthouses and a rooftop helipad this month. Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) is scheduled to break ground on an ambitious $440 million development of two 27-story buildings in the first phase, with four 28-story towers to follow, in a complex including offices, residences, commercial space and a five-star hotel.

Last week, on behalf of their client, December Construction Company (DCC), Myanmar Deals Leasing and Scipio Services, two Yangon-based real estate agencies, invited companies to apply for a tender to design, build, finance and operate what is set to be Myanmar’s tallest tower.

“What we’re seeking is an international developer or somebody who can build to that standard,” said Brett David Miller, managing director of Scipio. “We want this building to become an icon.”

Authorities in Myanmar, in response to such high-reaching building projects, are playing catch up and passing regulations to improve the safety of skyscrapers, Bangkok Post reported. In February, the Ministry of Construction’s Quality Control Committee set new rules that require reinforcing underground construction and foundations, regulations that high-rises in other Asian cities have followed for years.

As these construction projects are not scheduled to be finished until the end of 2014 at the earliest, they are not likely to alleviate the current real estate market with its supply shortage and high rent prices.

“New supply will come onstream but not enough to meet anticipated demand for the next five years,” said Tony Picon, managing director of the Myanmar office of Colliers International UK PLC (LON:COL), a leading global commercial real estate services headquartered in Seattle.

With the increasingly expensive rent of office spaces, companies are turning instead to apartments and residences to set up operations, fueling the property boom in the residential sector.

In a report released last week, Scipio said that residential leasing prices could climb as much 46 percent in the second half of this year.
The report expects demand to become even more acute, following the announcement that Norway’s Telenor and Qatari Ooredoo have secured the lucrative telecom licenses, and will establish operations for mobile networks later this year.

An influx of oil and gas companies is expected to raise demand even more, as the government awards drilling concessions, according to Bangkok Post.
The boom has even spread out of Yangon, to places like Bago, 70 kilometers northeast of the capital, where plans have been announced for an international airport, and south of the Yangon River to the town of Dala, following the announcement of a new bridge. Dala land prices have risen about 300 percent in the past three months, according to Moe Zaw, the founder of Myanmar Deals Leasing.

The driver to the boom, is that people in Yangon increasingly have money to invest on the back of soaring foreign investment, expanding tourism industry, higher trade and more jobs, according to Zaw.

“Whenever people make money — if they have extra money in hand — instead of putting money in a bank they just buy land,” said Moe Zaw. “Everyone knows you’re not going to lose money buying land.”

Even as prices continue to rise, economists are urging the government not to meddle in the real estate market, but allow it to fluctuate according to demand, reports Mizzima, a Burmese news outlet based in Thailand.

“The rising cost of land is indeed a hindrance to the economic development of the city and the country at large. But it is not due to sellers’ greed—it is simply the trend of demand-pull market economics,” said Professor Aung Tun Thet, a member of the State Socio-Economic Development Advisory Council and advisor to the United Nations Development Program. ““We must accept this. I worry that the government will try to meddle with the market. Rather than controlling the market, infrastructure development should be undertaken and wasteland should be provided to real and potential investors.”

34,064 Posts
Myanmar shows 6.5% growth

Myanmar showed the economic growth in 2012/13 at 6.5 per cent driven mainly by strong performance in gas production, services, construction, foreign direct investment, and commodity exports, according to World Bank.

According to the first edition of the Myanmar Economic Monitor (MEM) reports, there is also an indication that the outlook in the short to medium term remains positive although there are risks, both on the domestic as well as external fronts. It also reports that inflation has been on the rise in recent months, reaching 7.3 percent in August, on account of increasing food costs and housing rental costs.

The MEM further observes that in recent months the nominal and real effective exchange rates have been depreciating which helps to make Myanmar's exports more competitive. However, these indicators appear to have started appreciating in August, which could erode Myanmar's export competitiveness.

"We believe by periodically bringing most recent economic data and analysis on development issues to government policy makers, think- tanks, civil society and citizens, the World Bank can contribute to informed debates and decision making on development policy within a rapidly changing Myanmar," said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar.

The World Bank's Myanmar Economic Monitor looks at recent macroeconomic developments, recently implemented and planned policy reforms, and includes a special feature article. In this first edition, the special feature section presents a summary of the findings from the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability assessment (PEFA) of Myanmar that was completed earlier this year.

The World Bank plans to produce the MEM every six months. Its timing will coincide with the bi-annual East Asia and Pacific (EAP) update also produced by the Bank which started featuring Myanmar last year. The second EAP update for 2013 was recently launched in Singapore by Bert Hofman, the World Bank's regional Chief Economist.

34,064 Posts
Rising inflation a cause for concern in Myanmar—World Bank

Despite economic growth of 6.5 percent this year, rising inflation still remains a cause for concern in Myanmar, a World Bank official said on Wednesday.

“Rising inflation is always a cause for concern since it hurts the poor disproportionately, but economies do sometimes experience rising inflation, especially when in transition as is the case in Myanmar,” said May Thet Zin, the bank’s country economist for Myanmar.

“However, there is no cause for alarm yet because inflation remains in single digits in Myanmar. Nonetheless, it will be important for the authorities to keep a close eye on the situation so that it does not get out of hand,” she said.

According to the bank’s first edition of the Myanmar Economic Monitor (MEM), inflation has been on the rise in recent months, reaching 7.3 percent in August, on account of increasing food costs and housing rental costs.

According to the report, Myanmar’s growth was driven mainly by strong performance in gas production, services, construction, foreign direct investment, and commodity exports. It also indicates that the outlook in the short to medium term remains positive, although there are risks both on domestic and external fronts.

The findings also point out that the budget deficit declined to 3.7 per cent of the GDP in the 2012-13 fiscal year, from 4.6 per cent in 2011-12. Although the 2013-14 budget provides for increased spending on social sectors, the defense budget remains high. The report finds that the manual ledger system is largely up to date and data quality is good. Budgeting and planning institutions are well-established and undergoing significant change, as the country pursues its economic and social reform agenda.

The bank suggests that revised or supplemental budgets the Myanmar government issues mid-year may lead to significant differences between budgeted and actual spending. The report also shows that budget execution control in financial management and procurement are varied across ministries. “While reporting on spending happens monthly and at the end of the fiscal year, it is usually not completed in a timely fashion because of outdated manual systems,” the bank said in the report.

The MEM further observes that, in recent months, the nominal and real effective exchange rates have been depreciating, which helps to make Myanmar’s exports more competitive. However, these indicators appear to have started appreciating in August, which could erode Myanmar’s export competitiveness.

“We believe that by periodically bringing the most recent economic data and analysis on development issues to government policy makers, think-tanks, civil society and citizens, the World Bank can contribute to informed debates and decision making on development policy within a rapidly changing Myanmar,” said Kanthan Shankar, the bank’s country manager for Myanmar.
Every six months the bank plans to produce the MEM, which looks at recent macroeconomic developments and recently implemented and planned policy reforms, as well as including a special feature article. In the first edition, the special feature section presents a summary of the findings from the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability assessment (PEFA) of Myanmar that was completed earlier this year, the bank said in a statement.

“By producing the Myanmar Economic Monitor, we hope to contribute towards providing data and information on recent economic and policy developments in the country as well as the outlook going forward that various groups will find useful,” said Khwima Nthara, the bank’s senior country economist for Myanmar.

According to the report, the reforms undertaken by the Thein Sein administration have played a vital role in improving the business environment in the Southeast Asian country. These include the removal of import and export licensing requirements on some 600 products, the approval of new regulations on foreign investment to provide greater clarity to some aspects of the new Foreign Investment Law enacted last year, the granting of licenses to private insurance companies for the first time in 50 years, and the enactment of the anti-corruption law, to name just a few.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
121,821 Posts
Discussion Starter · #88 ·
Thailand, Myanmar to open new border checkpoints

MYANMAR, Nov 23 – Thailand will open new border checkpoints to facilitate communications with Myanmar and develop labour forces for the neighbouring country, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the new checkpoints, especially at Singkorn in Prachup Khiri Khan province, will be opened as soon as possible.

Mr Surapong attended the 7th Thai-Myanmar Joint Committee meeting and said Thailand is willing to support Myanmar on education development and registration of skilled labour from the neighbouring country.

He said Thailand offered to cooperate with Myanmar in solving the problem of Rohingya migrants and called on its authorities to check the citizenship of ethnic people.

Rohingya migrants have illegally entered Thailand over the last several years, mostly from Myanmar’s Rakhine province.

Mr Surapong said the meeting also discussed construction of roads and Myanmar taking the ASEAN chairmanship to usher the region towards the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.

Regarding the Dawei Special Economic Zone (DSEZ), the deputy prime minister said Myanmar was asked to talk to Japan about jointly developing the megaproject and hoped that a conclusion could be reached at the ASEAN-Japan Summit next month. (MCOT online news)

545 Posts
Hello, I am a business student from Indonesia. have a assignment to search about "Fail" CEO/Leader in any business field in Burma (Myanmar). Anyone can help me to find out? Because I already browse it over the internet, but Its hard to find, and also most of Myanmar's media written in Burmese Language. Please help me..
Greeting From Jakarta
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