Australian firms have established a sizeable presence in Myanmar and Mexico, says the May edition of EFIC’s newsletter, World Risk Developments.
Democratisation, reform and sanctions-easing have spurred an influx of foreign investment into the Burmese manufacturing and energy sectors, and Australian firms are prominent in the latter.
The newsletter notes that 12 of 59 firms selected for pre-qualification to bid for 18 onshore petroleum blocks are Australian.
Also, Woodside Petroleum has a 40 percent interest in the Daewoo-led consortium developing the offshore Shwe gasfield.
The economy is improving in Mexico as well, says the newsletter, a fact that has just been recognised by ratings agency Fitch, which has given the country a credit rating of BBB+, close to single-A status.
Through its infrastructure and property funds, Macquarie Capital has a substantial investment stake in Mexico, and plans to invest up to US$10 billion in infrastructure there over the next five years.
In a story on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the newsletter notes calls by Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel for Australia and other countries to impose stronger disclosure standards on resource companies in Africa to stamp out “opaque concession trading.”
The newsletter also examines last month's factory collapse in Bangladesh and the resulting pressure on fashion retailers, including Australian ones like Woolworths and Wesfarmers, to review their supply arrangements.
Finally, it notes the guarded export optimism in the recent Australian budget papers, compares bond market and credit rating developments in Indonesia and the Philippines, assesses prospects for the new government in Pakistan, and examines severe financial strains upon Egypt's economy.