Ups and downs
The Burmese currency remains fairly stable, selling at 964 kyat to the US dollar, while the buying rate is 963. The price of gold has dropped to 659,000 kyat per tical, that’s 2,600 kyat down from last week. Fuel remains the same and has not gone up for nearly a year – petrol stands at 820 kyat, diesel 950 kyat and octane 920 kyat per litre. Rice has gone up though – quality Pawhsanmwe rice now selling in Rangoon for 1,300 to 1,600 kyat per basket as opposed to 1,200 to 1,300 less than a month ago.
Offshore oil and gas block winners announced
Burma’s Ministry of Energy announced the winners of 20 offshore oil concessions – ten shallow-water, ten deep-water – on 26 March, the results of the country’s first open exploration and production tendering process for offshore resources.
Unlike earlier concessions granted to foreign oil firms, the winning companies are mostly based in Europe, the United States and Australia, although two Indian bidders – industrial conglomerate Reliance and a consortium led by state-run Oil India – were granted two shallow-water concessions each. Exploration and production activities currently take place in 18 blocks off the coast of Burma, dominated by Asian firms – including Thailand’s PTTEP, Malaysia’s Petronas, and CNOOC from China – granted concessions by Burma’s old military regime.
Shangri-La gets World Bank backing
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a branch of the World Bank, has pledged a loan of US$80 million to subsidiaries of Shangri-La Asia Ltd to expand operations in Burma. A statement by the IFC on 26 March said the loan will provide assistance for the expansion of the Traders Hotel in downtown Rangoon to increase its capacity from 270 to 485 rooms, as well as for construction of the 240-suite luxury Shangri-La Residences overlooking Kandawgyi Lake.
Man United sign food sponsorship deal for Burma