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Myanmar currency reaches all-time l

Myanmar currency reaches all-time low on black market

AP 10 August 2000, Rangoon.  Myanmar's kyat currency hit an all-time low 
Thursday in
black market trading, adding to woes facing the moribund economy.

Dealers said the exchange rate in Yangon had slipped to 394 kyat to the 
U.S. dollar,
compared with 385 kyat at the end of last week, when it breached a two-year 

The currency, which is not exchangeable overseas, started the year at 320 kyat
to the dollar, then suffered a sudden drop after government servants were 
given a
fivefold pay raise in March.

Dealers suspected that weakness was compounded more recently by a decline
in the value of the baht currency in neighboring Thailand.

A commentary in the state-run Kyemon newspaper last week also noted that
there were false rumors circulating that new high denomination kyat banknotes
were to be issued.

It warned politicians and businessmen against spreading rumors about the 
to manipulate commodity prices.

Despite the depreciation, consumer prices in Yangon markets are stable.

There are only ten licensed foreign currency traders in Yangon. Most deals are
done on the black market which offers a better rate. The official fixed 
exchange rate
of 6 kyat to the dollar is disregarded in day-to-day transactions.

Many dealers expect the currency could breach 400 kyat to the dollar
soon adding to the woes of an economy that multilateral financial institutions
says has serious structural problems.

In April, the Asian Development Bank said in a report that Myanmar's
central bank printed cash to cover 70 percent of last year's budget deficit.