The Central Bank of Myanmar says it will open a second round of foreign bank licensing early next year to attract more foreign investment. However, banks from countries that have already been granted licences – Australia, Japan, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Thailand – will not be eligible for the new licences.

Instead, new licences will be given to "additional neighbouring and important trading-partner economies," the central bank says.

The industry is still dominated by financial institutions with ties to the former military regime. But last year, Myanmar granted nine licences to foreign players – with restrictions on the services they can offer.

Last year’s recipients of the licences were Singapore’s OCBC and UOB, ANZ Banking Group, Thailand’s Bangkok Bank as well as Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Mizuho Financial Group.

Although the central bank did not specify how many licences would be granted, it did say banks would be able to provide wholesale onshore banking through a branch office.

Banks applying for licences next year will need to have a representative office in Myanmar or be in the process of establishing one.

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