Sunday, August 20, 2017

Foreign investment down 5.1%

Foreign direct investment has fallen during the first seven months of this financial year to US$3.7 billion from $3.9 billion over the same period last year, said the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA) in a statement.

The statement confirms the widespread impression that investors had adopted a wait-and-see attitude for several months in advance of the November 8 election.

DICA’s director general U Aung Naing Oo told The Myanmar Times a few days before the poll that investment was likely to slow as foreign investors waited for greater political certainty before committing to new projects.

This could be set to change given the positive attitude the international community has toward the election winners, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, said U Aung Tun Thet, economic adviser to the president, to The Myanmar Times.

“Economic sanctions may well be lifted, after which the country will gain many opportunities. The economy will grow as a result of politics and in turn, the political situation will improve in parallel with the economy. It is an opportunity to take advantage of this change,” he said.

In 2011, foreign investors were interested only in natural resource extraction. But they have since diversified into the manufacturing, services, oil and gas, telecoms, tourism and construction sectors, U Aung Naing Oo told reporters earlier this week.

Over the first seven months of this year, foreign companies have pledged capital to 106 businesses, he said. The largest investor is Singapore, followed by China.

Businesses from other countries including Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Libya, Malaysia, Netherlands, Thailand, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States and Vietnam have also invested into Myanmar, he said.

“The incoming government has international support, so I think foreign investment will rise. If the infrastructure is improved, more and more investment will come later,” U Myat Thin Aung, chair of Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zone’s management committee, told The Myanmar Times.

Currently, 729 foreign firms are operating in Myanmar with a total investment of more than $47 billion.

Translation by Zar Zar Soe