China top trading partner of Myanmar

China is the top trading partner of Myanmar out of the 12 major trading countries, according to a report provided by the Ministry of National Planning & Economic Development.

Myanmar’s major international trading partners are China, Thailand, Singapore, Indian, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Germany, Indonesia, US and United Kingdom.

Sea trading declining

The Ministry of Commerce reported that sea trading has declined, resulting in a loss of over US$1 billion compared to the previous fiscal year.

In the current fiscal year the income from sea trade amounted to over US$6.652 billion compared to the previous year’s record of US$ 7.900 billion with a loss of US$1.248 billion.

There are two types of international trading currently practiced: by sea and through the land borders.

JICA to offer two-step loan for SMEs

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will disburse a US$40 million loan to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a two-step loan scheme next month, according to the Small and Medium Industrial Development Bank (SMIDB).

Under the scheme, the JICA offers loans to the government and then the government disburses loans to banks. The banks will offer loans to the SMEs.   

Stock exchange to start with shares only

At first, the Yangon Stock Exchange will mainly allow shares to be traded, with a market in loan agreements and derivatives to follow after some time, said Dr Maung Maung Thein, deputy minister of the Ministry of Finance and Revenue.

“We will start with shares in the beginning. Afterwards we will slowly move towards the bond market. The next stage will be to operate derivatives and futures markets,” he said.

Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore sign shipping route deal

To boost regional trade, a cargo shipping line is being established in a joint effort between Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore. Vessels will travel from Bangkok to Yangon, going through Ranong.

The chairman of Golden Land Express Limited, U Aung Zaw Oo, said: “Our cargo line will run from Bangkok to Ranong and then Yangon. It will boost trade within the Asean Economic Community.”

Kaladan waterway 80 percent complete

The Kaladan Project support committee has reported that construction on the waterway component of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project is now 80 percent complete and is expected to be completed by the end of June this year.

"The whole Kaladan project is expected to be completed by 2016 or later, and work on the waterway is expected to be completed this June," said a senior official from the Myanmar Port Authority.

Scarcity of resources for securities industry

The stock exchange and private enterprises to operate in the securities industry are facing huge problem of human resource scarcity, said a minister.

“Since the stock exchange will be a major entity, it will require a large number of staff. As Myanmar has never experienced this before, there is no talents to use. This human resource problem is being the most important problem,” said Maung Maung Thein, the deputy minister of the Ministry of Finance who is leading for implementation of Yangon Stock Exchange.

Ongoing housing developments fall short of local demand

Housing projects currently in progress in Myanmar can barely fulfill people’s need for shelter, according to the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development.

“Right now, public need differs from region to region. Few are working to fill these needs,” said Nay Min Htet, deputy director of the Department of Human Settlement and Housing Development at the recent Opportunities and Challenges for Developing Housing and Construction Business Seminar.

Telecom licence awardees announced

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has granted communication licences to three telecom companies, according to Than Tun Aung, director-general of the telecommunications directorate.

Those licence awardees are KDDI, E-Lite and Yatanarpon Teleport companies.

Presales market: contractor develops property with buyer’s money

Due to weakness in a systematic housing financial mechanism, Myanmar’s real estate market relies on the presales market in which buyers have to place a down payment for a unit before constructing or developing a property, say experts at a seminar for challenges and opportunities in housing and construction.