Myanmar Investment Research
Finding reliable data is a real challenge for investors interested in Myanmar. In order to help you find trustworthy information, I’ve put together a database of research reports that I’ve found particularly useful. As more international organizations start to move into Myanmar, the quality and accuracy of research will surely improve. I keep this database updated with new reports, so be sure to check back in frequently.
The Asian Development Bank
The Asian Development Bank released a timely report in 2012 regarding Myanmar’s economic development options. The report suggests that Myanmar learn from other Asian nations about what has worked and what has not over the last 20 years. The ADB sees enormous opportunities in Myanmar, but states that Myanmar’s government must continue to reduce it’s role in private enterprise. An overall good summary of the challenges Myanmar faces with practical policy recommendations.
The International Monetary Fund
The IMF was absent from Myanmar for a number of years, but signaled its return with this Article IV consultation that offers a good description of the Myanmar economy. This report is also valuable because it describes the views of the Myanmar government, which seem to be positive and in line with international practices. Although a bit dry, this report is certainly useful for investors looking for a macro-economic understanding of Myanmar.
The World Bank
This World Bank report gives investors a short statistical summary of Myanmar’s governance rating. It’s interesting to note that the World Bank has not improved the ratings for the new government. Is this statistical oversight, or does it reflect political realities? Take a look at the report to decide.
This lengthy and comprehensive report by the German organization Bertelsmann Stiftung attempts to explain the recent political and economic changes in Myanmar. How drastic has the transformation been? Investors on the ground in Myanmar have taken issue with this report because it emphasizes the military’s continuing role in Myanmar, but the report offers and interesting perspective.
The United Nations
We’ve included two reports by The United Nations below. The first is a general country assessment which is broad ranging and covers a lot of the humanitarian work being done in Myanmar. This report is useful to investors for the context it provides. The second report is specifically about land and property issues, which are garnering a lot of interest from foreign investors.
The Brookings Institute
The Brookings Institute released an interesting report written by Lex Rieffel which gives a detailed analysis of Myanmar’s economy and its future prospects. Rieffel sees Myanmar as an economy that will greatly expand during the coming decade, but will have trouble maintaining economic growth as the economy matures. We have a few disagreements with this paper based on our on-the-ground experience , but it presents some interesting viewpoints.
The Ash Center at Harvard has produced a lot of interesting and original research on Myanmar. We’ve included two of their most interesting reports that deal with specific economic issues – namely electricity and currency exchange. The papers offer a humbling look at the development challenges Myanmar faces. Recommended reading.
Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
For investors looking at Myanmar’s (non-existent!) financial services industry, this report by ACTED and Banking with the Poor offers some insights. The report is filled with useful data and analysis, and illuminates the lack of access to capital in Myanmar. It also lays out some key recommendations for the development of a stronger microfinance sector, and explains how to implement these changes.
This short report by the Asia Society addresses US-Myanmar relations and encourages Washington to put its full support behind the new Myanmar government. The United States has been rapidly reforming its policies on Myanmar, but many feel that it is still an obstacle rather than an accelerant to growth and change. If this report’s recommendations are heeded by America, positive changes are sure to follow.
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Members of the CSIS visited Myanmar in 2012 and produced a report detailing their experiences and impressions. This report provides specific policy recommendations for the United States government, and encourages a closer working relationship between the two countries. One of the report’s more controversial recommendations is that the US should provide training to Myanmar’s military.
The International Bar Association
A team from the International Bar Association visited Myanmar in late 2012 to assess its legal environment. Not surprisingly, the team found many areas of deficiency and in this report it produces some relevant recommendations. Although the Association doesn’t have a recent history of engagement with Myanmar, it serves as an international voice that can help align current practices with international norms.
This report, authored by telecoms giant Ericsson with the help of Deloitte, attempts to put Myanmar’s telecoms sector in perspective. Ericsson obviously sees massive potential for the market, and the upcoming privatization of Myanmar’s telecoms sector is discussed throughout this report. The report is especially useful in that it describes the broader economic trends associated with advances in technology and mobile penetration. Of course the report puts Ericsson’s slant on the market, but it is a highly beneficial read nonetheless, as the communications industry affects nearly everyone in the country.
The World Economic Forum
Written as a collaboration between the WEF, the Asian Development Bank, and Accenture, this report takes an in-depth look at Myanmar’s energy sector. As most investors are aware, the electricity infrastructure in Myanmar is a major issue, but how long will this problem continue to plague the country? This report looks at the future of energy development in Myanmar and may help investors to answer that question.
McKinsey Global Institute
McKinsey has produced a seminal 152 page report on Myanmar’s economy and investment environment. The report contains several key recommendations about how Myanmar can develop, drawing on lessons from other Southeast Asian countries. This report was produced over months of macro and micro economic study and also serves as an introduction to the country for investors hearing about Myanmar for the first time.
International Finance Corporation
The IFC has become active in Myanmar’s microfinance sector lately with an investment in Acleda Bank’s microfinance operations. This report gives a broad overview of the challenges faced by the industry, including the high costs incurred for rural lenders. As the microfinance industry in Myanmar is open for foreign participation, this report is of great interest to investors considering the lending sector.
Thura Swiss is a Myanmar company involved in the areas of research, consulting and capital markets. It is the first company publishing equity research on Myanmar public companies. We’ve seen strong demand from investors for shares of Myanmar companies, and these reports help to shed light on some lesser known local companies. The reports also provide useful macroeconomic information and give a general overview of the capital markets in Myanmar.