Jun 27, 2012

More foreign banks seek opening of representative office in Myanmar

One more representative office of foreign bank, the Krungthai Bank of Thailand, has been opened in Myanmar's Yangon recently.
The addition of the Thai bank has brought the total number of foreign bank offices based in Myanmar to 20 which include those from Singapore, Bangladesh, China, France, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei, Vietnam, South Korea, the United States and the United Kingdom.
Another Thai bank, the Siam Commercial Bank, also plans to set up a representative office in the country.
However, the foreign banks are not allowed to conduct financial services except data collecting works in Myanmar, bankers said.
Since early this year, some banks from the United States and the European Union countries have started links with the Central Bank of Myanmar to seek operation of their banks in light of suspension of some sanctions on Myanmar.
The famous Standard Chartered bank and some foreign banks, which had opened representative offices in Myanmar between 1990 and 2002, walked out afterwards due to sanctions put on Myanmar then.
Japan stood the first with the most number of representative offices opened in Myanmar including Dai-ichi Kangyo Bank, Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd, Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation, the Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Sumitomo Bank and UFJ Bank.
As there is increased interest of Japanese businessmen and market researchers traveling to Myanmar following the country's landmark by-elections on April 1 with gradual easing of foreign sanctions, Japan's All Nippon Airways is trying to resume its direct flight to Yangon in September.
Following the recent opening of a representative office of Japan's second largest bank -- Mizuho Corporate Bank in Myanmar, there is also arrangement of opening of a big shopping center by the Lawson Inc. of Japan
Meanwhile, the World Bank will also open an office in Myanmar as a re-engagement with the country.
Aimed at stabilizing the exchange rate of foreign currency and ensure emergence of foreign exchange market in the country, the Central Bank of Myanmar has granted 11 Myanmar private banks to trade three foreign hard currencies -- U.S. dollar (USD), Euro and Singapore dollar since last year.
The 11 private banks are Kanbawza Bank, Cooperative Bank, Myanmar Industrial Development Bank, Myawaddy Bank, Inwa Bank, Myanmar Oriental Bank, Asian Green Development Bank, Ayeyawaddy Bank, Myanmar Pioneer Bank, United Amara Bank and Tun Foundation Bank.
These banks have set up exchange counters at banks, airports, hotels, shopping centers and major tourists destinations for the convenience of tourists visiting Myanmar and Myanmar citizens leaving the country.
Moreover, four Myanmar private banks including Cooperatives Bank, Kanbawza Bank, Asia Green Development Bank and Ayeyawaddy Bank have also been allowed to handle remittance to homeland from Myanmar migrant workers working in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia starting February.
There is a total of 19 private banks and three state-owned banks in Myanmar which are Myanma Economic Bank (MEB), Myanma Foreign Trade Bank (MFTB) and Myanma Investment Commercial Bank ( MICB).
Beginning April, Myanmar's foreign exchange rate regime has moved from a peg of 8.5 Kyats to the special drawing right to a managed floating exchange rate and the rate is quoted as 850 Kyats per USD currently, up from 818 Kyats per USD when it was first applied.

Source: Xinhua