Myanmar’s government has been scrambling to manage its massive economic crisis, with officials scrambling to find ways to buy and sell its currency.
At least 20 percent of Myanmar’s exports and investments are in foreign currencies, and there are also fears that foreign investment in the country could be halted.
On Friday, Myanmar’s Finance Ministry reported that a small number of foreign firms were in “active discussions” with Myanmar authorities to buy up some of the country’s foreign exchange reserves, which could be used to purchase goods from Myanmar and other foreign companies.
This week, the ministry said it was in talks with a group of foreign companies, including the US firm Cushman & Sunlight, to “invest in the purchase of foreign currency and assets in Myanmar to support the country financially in the wake of the economic crisis.”
Cushman’s chief executive officer, Chris Lasseter, said in a statement that his company would continue to support Myanmar with its economic recovery.
“We are deeply committed to supporting the people of Myanmar in the face of the continuing challenges of this difficult economic environment,” Lassetter said.
Cushmans purchases are a fraction of the $1.4 trillion worth of foreign assets the country owns, but they are still significant and could be worth billions of dollars if a deal goes through.
While the government has taken steps to prevent large purchases, the country is struggling to find buyers for its assets.
The government has said it is trying to buy as much as $3 billion worth of property and other assets to finance the massive debt crisis, which has left the economy in its deepest downturn in decades.
At a meeting on Thursday, Finance Minister Myint Swe, who heads the National Reserve Bank of Myanmar, said that the country had more than $200 billion in foreign exchange holdings and was planning to spend the cash on buying properties and other purchases.
“The country has the capacity to buy more assets in a very short period of time,” Swe said.
“We are going to invest that money, so that we can buy more properties and buy the debt.
So, we will spend the money we have to buy the properties and assets.”
Swe’s remarks come amid a surge in foreign investment, which is fueling the countrys economic crisis.
But he has also said that he is willing to negotiate with foreign firms to buy some of their assets.
Some analysts have said that foreign firms could try to buy at a discount to what the government is asking for to help cushion the economic shock.
Currency market watchers have also been skeptical about whether foreign companies could buy the country back in full.
Foreign companies have been increasingly reluctant to take on debt as they have seen their profits drop in recent years.
In the wake a series of political protests last year that turned violent, many foreign companies stopped making investments.
A report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) this month said that at least $1 billion worth more was owed by foreign companies to the country.IEP also said it had found that about $3.7 billion of this debt was not accounted for.
It was not immediately clear what was behind the apparent reluctance of foreign investors to take the risk of investing in the troubled country.
On Thursday, the IEP said it found that Myanmar was unable to buy back all the debt it owed foreign creditors, and it urged the government to sell some of these assets.
In a statement, Myanmar Finance Minister Swe said that a group comprising representatives of foreign institutions had recently met with the Finance Ministry to discuss the debt issue.
“Foreign entities, including Chinese, Japanese and other financial institutions, have been actively engaged in discussions to purchase foreign currency,” he said.
The minister said that these discussions would continue.
“The Finance Ministry has already started to negotiate a possible purchase agreement with these foreign entities.
It has already reached an agreement with some foreign entities to purchase up to $3,000 million of the debt,” he added.
The foreign exchange market has been a key pillar of the economy, providing an alternative to foreign currencies and currencies other than the official U.S. dollar.
Foreign investors are now also eager to invest in the emerging market economy.
The International Monetary Fund estimates that Myanmar’s economy is worth about $1 trillion, making it one of the world’s largest economies, ahead of China.