LONDON, 9 May 2013: Qatar has approached International Airlines Group, owner of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia, about becoming its biggest shareholder via the purchase of a stake held by struggling Spanish lender Bankia, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
The daily business newspaper, which cited two people familiar with the situation, said Qatar had made an informal approach to IAG to ask whether it would welcome the Gulf nation as an investor.
Both Bankia and IAG declined to comment on the report.
YANGON, 21 March 2013: Myanmar on Wednesday announced the abolition of its US dollar proxy currency, in the latest step towards economic normalisation.
More thanUS$30 million worth of Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) will be phased out of existence, Finance Minister Win Shein said in parliament, without giving a timeframe for the move.
The currency, introduced by the former junta two decades ago as an alternative to the US greenback — which it officially banned — is no longer required, he said.
YANGON, 21 March 2013: Myanmar will allow tourists to exchange its kyat currency with two more foreign currencies; the Chinese yuan and Thai baht by the end of this month.
Currently, Myanmar’s state and private banks has an official exchange rate between kyat and the euro, US dollar and Singapore dollar.
The move will make it more convenient for Chinese and Thai travellers to exchange their currency in the country and will encourage them to spend more while visiting the country. In the past they needed to buy US dollars (fresh, clean notes) to exchange at Yangon Airport for Kyat.
NEW DELHI, 14 February 2013: Shares of India’s debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines plunged on Wednesday after banks said they would start recalling loans worth US$1.5 billion, which analysts said spelled the end for the carrier.
The firm, controlled by Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya, slid five percent — its daily limit — before edging clawing back some losses to trade down 4.58% at 10.62 rupees in mid-afternoon.
“The banks’ decision to start the recovery process means the end of the road for Kingfisher” if they carry it through, Kapil Kaul, regional head of leading aviation consultancy CAPA, told AFP.
YANGON, 29 January 2013: Myanmar on Monday hailed a deal with international lenders to cancel nearly US$6 billion of its debt, another milestone in the rapid transformation of the former junta-ruled nation.
The former pariah state also cleared its arrears to the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with the help of bridge loans from Japan, removing another key hurdle for the resumption of international aid.
The Paris Club of creditor nations said it had agreed at a meeting on Friday to write off half of Myanmar’s debts to the group, with the remainder to be rescheduled over 15 years.
BANGKOK, 25 January 2013: Thai Credit Guarantee Corporation is planning to help the tourism industry that is under pressure from regional competition and moves to raise wages.
TCG vice president marketing department, Kriengkrai Chaisiriwongsuk, told TTR Weekly during the bi-monthly meeting of the Association of Thai Tourism Marketing that over the next couple of months the organisation will hold talks with entrepreneurs and stakeholders to make loans easier.
“Compared to other industries, banks are tougher on tourism companies to approve loans because they consider the business too volatile. So, we need to help as tourism is a key industry and the government has a policy to support tourism,” Mr Kriengkrai said.
YANGON, 14 January 2013: As it strives to become Asia’s next economic star Myanmar has set its sights on overhauling its battered and distrusted banking system, a move which could pave the way for foreign lenders to open branches.
Legislation handing independence to the Central Bank of Myanmar is set to be scrutinised by lawmakers over the coming weeks, in the latest reform of an economy which was for decades shambolically mismanaged by the former junta.
The measure will be “a first step in a broader financial sector reform” geared at “strengthening and liberalising” Myanmar’s enfeebled banking sector, according to Rajiv Biswas, economist at research group IHS Global Insight.
YANGON, 27 December 2012: Visa can now used at almost 90 ATMs operated by Co-operative Bank and Kanbawza Bank across Myanmar to withdraw cash.
Up until now, travellers had to withdraw enough cash before leaving for Myanmar. Visa cards could not be used to withdraw cash or pay for services once in Myanmar, mainly due to tough US sanctions that prevented US companies from offering financial services in the country.
Credit card companies are now ready to enter the market, but the lack of technology and back-up services for ATMs and credit card transactions are still major hurdles. The few companies that have established a base are operating minimal financial services, but 2013 will see that change as the country’s banking system upgrades through co-operation with foreign banks.
NAY PYI TAW, MYANMAR, 26 October 2012: Myanmar’s broken and neglected transport sector needs a top-to-bottom overhaul to prepare for an expected boom in demand for quality roads, railways, airports and transport services in coming years, says a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) study.
“For the benefits of Myanmar’s anticipated growth to reach people in all corners of the country, its network of roads, railways, inland waterways and airports will need a coordinated path to improvement,” said ADB Transport and Communications Division in the Southeast Asia Department director, James Lynch.
“This is vital not only for the country’s development, from the cities to the remote rural areas, but also to transform the country into a land bridge linking Southeast Asia and South Asia.”
WUHAN, PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA, 25 October 2012: Ministers from 10 nations spanning the Caucasus, Central, East, and South Asia will gather here, 29-31 October, to discuss how to boost connectivity and cooperation in their region through to 2020.
Discussions will focus on development of road, railways and cross border connections to ease trade and transport through the region. In directly it will ultimately make the region more accessible for tourism expansion.
The meeting marks the 11th gathering of the ministers of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Programme.