Chequing In On Myanmar’s Junta

Via Reuters, an interesting update on Chinese investment in Myanmar.  As the article notes:

“…China has pumped $8.17 billion into military-run Myanmar in the current fiscal year, accounting for two thirds its total investment over the past two decades, official data showed on Monday.

Energy projects formed the bulk of the investment, with $5 billion in hydropower and $2.15 billion in the oil and gas sector of the reclusive, resource-rich nation whose neighours include economic juggernauts China and India, the data showed.

China also invested a total of $997 million in mining in the first quarter of the current fiscal year (April 2010-March 2011).

Total foreign direct investment (FDI) for the 2009-10 fiscal year was almost $315 million compared to nearly $985 million a year earlier, according to data released by the State-run Central Statistical Organisation (CSO).

Sanctions imposed by the West because of Myanmar’s poor human rights record, decades of mismanagement and graft at the hands of the military rulers have crippled Myanmar’s economy.

Myanmar will hold its first multi-party election in two decades on Nov. 7 in an attempt to gain legitimacy and lure investment. It is currently on a privatisation drive and enjoys close trade ties with China, India and fellow Southeast Asian nations, in particular, Thailand and Singapore.

However, official FDI data for Myanmar is notoriously unreliable, analysts say, with the figures quoted referring only to investments announced by the regime and often including pledges, rather than actual investments, in the totals.

Many deals are done in secret with the government and are not included in official data, which does not name the investing companies or the projects. Some investment pledges never actually materialise, experts say.

Myanmar has attracted over $20 billion in FDI since becoming a market economy in 1988, $12.32 billion of which came from China. That is followed by Thailand, with total investment of $9.57 over the same period, the statistics showed.”

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