Business Roundup

The Irrawaddy Business Roundup

By Nan Lwin 30 January 2021

YANGON — Following Myanmar’s military threat of a possible coup over its claims of election fraud, businesses and economists have expressed concerns that investors will lose confidence in the democratic transition. This week alone the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) approved 14 proposals, including four solar projects.

Meanwhile, the Myanmar Apiculture Association said discussions are underway to export honey to the European Union. And the Ministry of Commerce said earnings from mineral exports have collapsed since last year. One of South Korea’s largest banks, KB Kookmin Bank, also opened its first branch in Yangon.

14 investments approved 

The MIC has approved 14 investment proposals from foreign and domestic investors, including four solar power projects, in its first meeting for the year.

It said the energy, fisheries, real estate and services sector investments totaled US$295 million (392 billion kyats)0 and 154 billion kyats ($116 million). The projects are expected to create 4,371 jobs and include four 40-megawatt solar power projects in Mandalay, Sagaing and Magwe regions and a fish meal factory submitted by Scoular Myanmar Co Ltd.

​Exports honey to EU

The Myanmar Apiculture Association said it plans to export honey to the European Union before the end of the year.

The association said it is working to obtain international certification for honey exporters and the process would take about six months. The EU approved Myanmar on its list of honey exporters in August last year.

The association said between 2,500 and 3,000 tons of honey are exported annually, mainly to Japan, but also to China and Thailand.

Mineral exports decline 

The Ministry of Commerce says mineral exports fell by more than $500 million (665 billion kyats) between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, compared with earnings in the same period of 2019. Earnings of $352.6 million (469 billion kyats) were reported, compared with about $853 million (1.13 trillion kyats) a year earlier.

COVID-19 restrictions hammered exports, including shutting down events like the gem expo and emporiums.

According to the ministry, Myanmar earned around $1.5 billion (1.9 trillion kyats) in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Official mineral exports account for 10 percent of Myanmar’s exports.

South Korean Bank opens 

The first branch of the KB Kookmin Bank from South Korea opened in Yangon on Wednesday.

The bank plans to provide services for infrastructure, housing and digital banking. It said it would provide loans at lower interest rates than Myanmar’s banks.

KB Bank has invested $200 million (2.7 billion kyats) in Myanmar and plans to open 10 branches, including five in Yangon.

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