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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs  6  April  2016  

Myanmar FDI grows to record US$9b

FOREIGN direct investment (FDI) in Myanmar in the fiscal year ending in March grew to nearly US$9 billion, a government official said on Monday, after a rush of last-minute approvals before the handover of power to Aung San Suu Kyi’s administration.

The figure, a record high, rose by about US$1 billion compared with the previous fiscal year, fuelled by investment in the energy, manufacturing and telecoms sectors, San Myint, an official at the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, told Reuters.

The investment reflects growing, if still cautious, interest in one of Asia’s last remaining untapped markets, which has offered tax breaks and export tariff perks to create urgently jobs for its 51.5 million people.

San Myint said FDI rose sharply after a body approving projects signed off on several large deals before Suu Kyi’s government took power in April, following an election win last year by her National League for Democracy.

“(Projects) pending a long time in the process due to lack of necessary information were expedited before the end of the fiscal year,” said San Myint.

Myanmar received US$4.1 billion in FDI in 2013/2014 and that number doubled by the end of last fiscal year as foreign firms won oil and gas concessions and international hotel chains started moving in.

Singapore tops the list of foreign investors, the official said, followed by China, Hong Kong and the Netherlands. He said a detailed breakdown was not available as it was still being calculated.

The Asian Development Bank forecast last week Myanmar’s economic growth would recover to 8.4 per cent in the fiscal year ending March 2017, partly thanks to a pick up in foreign investment.

“Foreign direct investment is expected to get a lift from the successful political transition following national elections in November 2015, with investment flowing into newly established special economic zones and rapidly expanding transport, telecommunications, and energy sectors,” the bank said.

Growth in Myanmar’s investment follows reforms launched in 2012 by former president Thein Sein, a former general who enlisted help from technocrats and global financial institutions to overhaul an economy that wilted under sanctions and inept policymaking during five decades of military rule.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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