Myanmar Monitor


Photo credit: Nikkei Asian Review

Economy, Investment and Trade

Myanmar stock exchange struggles to attract investors and companies
The Myanmar stock exchange or YSX is struggling to attract investors and companies a year after the initial hype that surrounded its launch in March 2016. There are currently only four companies listed on the exchange while the target for the first year was 10. Furthermore, investors in the YSX are mostly individuals who seem to have lost interest in investing further, especially after stock prices for the listed companies have dropped. Additionally, laws on investment are not conducive for foreigners to invest in the YSX.
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Myanmar needs more power
Myanmar is struggling to provide stable power supply for the rising demand in the country. The main concern in increasing supplies are the losses that the government will have to bear due to the subsidies provided and the potential unrest if the increase in price is passed on to the consumers. Energy sources are also a point of controversy. Myanmar has had to shelve plans to generate hydropower due to protests from local communities, while supplies of natural gas are projected to run out in the next decade. Electricity shortages are an issue for businesses and foreign companies who are already invested in or are considering to invest in the country.
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Laws on foreigners hindering growth of residential market
Lack of clarity on a law allowing foreigners to buy condominiums in Myanmar is contributing to a prolonged slowdown in its residential property sector. The legislation implemented in January 2016 leaves many questions unanswered, for example, whether the law applies to existing or new apartments. The government has said that they will amend the by-laws of the act but it is unclear when this will be completed. The residential market has been bullish since 2011 but slowed down in the last 18 months. The changes in the law are seen as a long term strategy to ensure the market picks up again.
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Grab to enter Myanmar market
Grab has launched a trial of its services in the capital Yangon. Myanmar will be the seventh market that Grab has entered. The ride-sharing service has entered the market at a time when the government is looking to improve transportation services having for the first time introduced regular bus lines, timetables and salaries for drivers. Uber Technologies Inc. will follow suit and have announced that their discussions with the Myanmar government are progressing well.
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Internal and Foreign Affairs

India provides Myanmar with military equipment to counter China;
India is adding lightweight torpedoes to a list of military equipment that it is supplying to Myanmar. India is seeking to grow its strategic ties with the country in an effort to counter the inroads made by China. The Indian military is also increasing coordinated patrols with Myanmar forces along the 1,643km bilateral land border which is home to Indian insurgent groups operating in the region.
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Myanmar rejects UN’s decision to investigate allegations of human rights violations
The Myanmar government has stopped short of saying that it would block a United Nations backed investigation into allegations of human rights abuses in Rakhine state. A recent report by the United Nations Human Rights Council stated that Rohingya Muslims were being inhumanely treated by Myanmar forces. The Myanmar government said that the international investigation will only “inflame” the current situation and that a local investigation was already underway. The Myanmar Foreign Affairs Ministry said it had disassociated itself from the UN’s resolution.
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