Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
Jason's Feed
Jun 26, 2012

Special Report: Breakneck reform pace overloads Myanmar

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – The desks are mostly empty. Two computers idle in a corner. A young woman in a sarong leafs through a newspaper. Welcome to what should be the fast-beating heart of Myanmar’s economy: the headquarters of the central bank.

The first tour of the complex in the capital Naypyitaw by a foreign journalist reveals an almost lifeless institution. The Monetary Policy Department has just three computers, about the same as the Bank Supervision Department. A training department has fewer than five, including one being used for video games. Two children giggle in the corner.

May 30, 2012

Myanmar banking’s new “wow” factor – ATMs

YANGON (Reuters) – As Myanmar opens up after five decades of military rule, a country run on cash is finding a new alternative: plastic.

Private banks in Myanmar have begun rolling out automated teller machines in recent weeks, revolutionary in a country where people often haul sacks and suitcases of cash to banks.

May 30, 2012

Feature – Myanmar banking’s new “wow” factor – ATMs

YANGON (Reuters) – As Myanmar opens up after five decades of military rule, a country run on cash is finding a new alternative: plastic.

Private banks in Myanmar have begun rolling out automated teller machines in recent weeks, revolutionary in a country where people often haul sacks and suitcases of cash to banks.

May 25, 2012

Myanmar protests an opportunity to show more reform

YANGON, May 25 (Reuters) – Five days of street protests over
chronic power shortages present Myanmar’s reformist government
with a headache and an opportunity.

Police forcibly dispersed protesters in the central Myanmar
town of Pyi on Thursday, a heavy-handed response reminiscent of
the previous military junta that could fuel grievances among an
impoverished and long-neglected people.

May 23, 2012

Myanmar to boost electricity after protests

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s government announced emergency measures on Wednesday to boost electricity supplies following protests over chronic power outages that are testing the nascent democracy.

Six generators purchased from U.S.-based Caterpillar Inc, the world’s largest maker of construction machinery, will be air-freighted within a week, and two 25-megawatt gas-turbines would be bought from General Electric Co, the largest U.S. conglomerate, state television said.

May 23, 2012

As Myanmar opens, protesters test boundaries

YANGON (Reuters) – As long-isolated Myanmar opens up, its people are flexing their newly democratic muscles and testing the boundaries of freedom in a series of protests over chronic power outages.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred people in the commercial capital Yangon marched at Sule Pagoda, the focal point of demonstrations in 2007 and 1988 that were crushed by the military which ruled for nearly half a century until last year.

May 22, 2012

As Myanmar opens, protesters test boundaries of freedom

YANGON, May 22 (Reuters) – As long-isolated Myanmar opens
up, its people are flexing their newly democratic muscles and
testing the boundaries of freedom in a series of protests over
chronic power outages.

On Tuesday evening, several hundred people in the commercial
capital Yangon marched at Sule Pagoda, the focal point of
demonstrations in 2007 and 1988 that were crushed by the
military which ruled for half a century until last year.

May 18, 2012

Myanmar’s central bank aims for weaker currency

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, May 18 (Reuters) – Myanmar’s central
bank wants to weaken its newly floated currency and prevent
further rises that could derail reforms to its economy, a deputy
central bank governor said.

Nay Aye, one of two deputy governors, added that foreign
banks will be able to form joint ventures in Myanmar by 2014, a
year earlier than expected, as foreign investors begin to size
up one of Asia’s most promising frontier markets following the
suspension of U.S. and European sanctions.

May 18, 2012

Exclusive: Myanmar’s central bank aims for weaker currency

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – Myanmar’s central bank wants to weaken its newly floated currency and prevent further rises that could derail reforms to its economy, a deputy central bank governor said.

Nay Aye, one of two deputy governors, added that foreign banks will be able to form joint ventures in Myanmar by 2014, a year earlier than expected, as foreign investors begin to size up one of Asia’s most promising frontier markets following the suspension of U.S. and European sanctions.

May 17, 2012

Myanmar hopes for U.S. sanctions move to boost economy

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar (Reuters) – A further lifting of U.S. sanctions on Myanmar, which could come during a visit by officials to Washington this week, would be crucial to opening its long-isolated economy, a senior Myanmar government official said.

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin meets U.S. officials on Thursday, stoking expectation the United States might announce a further lifting or suspension of sanctions, including investment restrictions, on the country that is also known as Burma.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
    • Follow Jason