As Kyat Soars, Foreign Bulls and Burmese Bears Spar on Growth

RANGOON — The Burmese kyat has been the best-performing Asian currency against the US dollar so far this year, rising over 10 percent versus the greenback since January. While this trend has excited foreign investors, Burmese analysts remain skeptical about how well the currency’s buoyancy reflects the growth prospects of the real economy. Bloomberg News […]

Kyat Value Grows in Wake of Govt Power Transfer

RANGOON — Since Burma’s democratic handover of power on April 1, the country has seen a resurgence in the value of the kyat, observers say. Not even a week after a National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government took office, the Central Bank of Myanmar on April 7 reported an exchange rate of 1,192 kyats per […]

Rapid Migration and Lack of Cheap Housing Fuels Yangon Slum Growth

YANGON — Ei Cho Khine once had dreams of becoming a tour guide. As a student back in her village in Magwe Region in central Myanmar, she would often encounter groups of foreigners being led by tour guides while helping her parents at their Bein moke snack stall. “My dream was to be a tour […]

Services Likely to Play Key Role in New Economic Plan, Experts Say

Burma’s service sector, not manufacturing, will likely be the focus of national attention after the new government is formed in March, observers predict. The country’s economy is expected to hit a lull in the post-election period, but experts say that the incoming administration will attempt to boost the service sector to keep the national economy […]

Ayeyarwady chief minister laments lost opportunities

The outgoing Ayeyarwady Region government has laid down a good foundation for its successor, though it has not been possible so far to put into practice many of the good ideas the government had set in motion, the current chief minister said last week. Practical difficulties had prevented much progress on plans to advance development, […]

Motorcycle taxi business prospering in Yangon suburbs

Braving both the police and the thieves, motorcycle taxi drivers are thriving in the suburbs around Yangon city. Officially banned from the city streets by local ordinance, which restricts motorcycle use to government staff only, motorcycles are emerging as one answer to semi-permanent traffic congestion and the rising popularity of the outer suburbs. While the […]

Yangon authorities join calls to end idle industrial land

Yangon authorities have added their voices to calls for an end to the practice of buying industrial zone land and then holding it fallow in the hopes of flipping it for profit. Genuine investors are often put off by the high costs for industrial land, and deputy industry minister U Myo Aung on March 17 […]

Government responds to accusations of mishandling labour protests

The Yangon Region government and Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security made announcements yesterday in response to criticism over their mishandling of workers’ protests in Yangon. After the parliament and government failed to guarantee a minimum wage for manual labourers, the momentum of the protests increased. At the beginning of February, protests by employees […]

Prospect for manufacturing in Myanmar

YANGON — As chairman of the Hlaing Tharyar Industrial Zone, U Myat Thin Aung understands the challenges facing Myanmar’s manufacturing sector. Despite concerns about whether local manufacturers will be able to compete when the country becomes part of the Asean Free Trade Area next year, however, Hlaing Tharyar—Yangon’s largest industrial zone, with nearly 600 factories […]

Property prices skyrocket due to speculation and laundering

The most widely heard analysis is that Myanmar’s real estate and property market has been gradually rising based on two genuine factors. One is the growing demand for housing due to ever increasing population in urban areas and the other is the government’s urban expansion and development of low-cost housing projects. This generally ignores another […]