Continuing our series on frontier and emerging markets, we focus here on Myanmar – the latest country to be listed as a frontier market.
Earlier this month, Myanmar in Southeast Asia launched its own stock exchange and has become the latest country to be listed as a frontier market. It’s good to see that the growing strength and future of Myanmar is recognised on the international stage. For a country that has fought for democracy and succeeded, the new stock exchange brings another opportunity for strength and stability, as a new frontier market.
Having broken away from British rule in 1948, Myanmar was under military rule until its first democratic election in 25 years, held last month. The world celebrated the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League of Democracy; a truly inspiring leader. ‘The Lady’ as she is known, is an excellent example of tenacity and strength. Ms Suu Kyi, having been under house arrest for 15 years, demonstrates the scale of possible achievement when we set targets and pursue them. We can learn a lot from Ms Suu Kyi and I believe that we should carry out business with the same approach, ensuring that our principles and morals are present in all business conduct and that we fight to achieve our goals.
A member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Myanmar is well-placed to benefit from this 10-country bloc which includes prosperous nations such as Singapore. At the end of this year, the organisation will establish the ASEAN Economic Community with the aim of establishing a single market in the region to counter underperforming trade. As a less developed member, Myanmar has much to gain from positive momentum in this region.
Myanmar is a prime example of a frontier market. Previously incredibly politically unstable and restricted by numerous sanctions, the country is finally rejoining the global economy. Whilst the new stock exchange may take a while to gain momentum, Myanmar has the high-risk growth potential which attracts investors to frontier markets. It is increasingly expected that ASEAN assets will be counted in a class all of their own, differentiating itself from other emerging and frontier markets. The country is already reaping the rewards of its election as multinationals eye the region with interest. Microsoft has recently announced that it has entered into a supply agreement with Shwe Taung Group, a leading corporation in the country.
However, worries remain for Myanmar and the region, particularly over the possible impact of a Chinese slowdown on the region. But, despite this, we are excited to see the development of Myanmar, both in their politics and their market. As an international network, it is important that we have access and relationships within all markets to provide a truly global service to our clients. We hope that this is the beginning of a new era of prosperity and we look forward to watching Myanmar broach its new frontier.