Myanmar officials and the business community yesterday expressed hope that the lifting of US sanctions against prominent industrialist U Win Aung last week would open the door to an influx of US investment and the removal from Washington’s blacklist of other tycoons linked to the former military regime.
Overcoming logistical barriers, a new 40-hectare (100-acre) industrial park has opened for foreign investors in Kayin State. The future of the Hpa-an industrial zone, set up in 2011, initially looked bleak because of local instability and electricity shortages, said U Zaw Min, the state’s chief minister.
Banking in Myanmar is thriving but requires further private sector reforms, according to a senior IMF official commenting on the inauguration in Yangon last week of the first branches to be opened by three foreign banks.
Rice exports are set to leap by more than 10 percent this year, setting a new record, industry experts said yesterday. U Soe Tun, associate secretary of the Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF), said total exports would reach 2 million metric tonnes in 2015-2016.
November’s election could bring higher inflation and a bigger budget deficit, experts have warned. International Monetary Fund officials told The Myanmar Times in Washington that the deficit could rise despite government attempts to restrain it.
This week’s arrival of the first three foreign banks to be allowed to open branches in Myanmar has already signalled a possible shake-up of the banking sector, with Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation expressing interest yesterday in eventually acquiring a minority stake in Kanbawza (KBZ), Myanmar’s largest lender.