Myanmar: Devalued currency interferes with trade at Chinese border

Traders from Myanmar who shift goods across the border with China say their country’s currency, the kyat, has depreciated so much relative to the Chinese yuan that they are no longer able to stay in business. The kyat’s value has fallen sharply in recent weeks at the border. At the start of the month one yuan (U.S. $1 = 6.83 yuan) was valued at about 300 kyats. On Tuesday, traders said that the yuan is now valued at around 420 kyats. Both values are significantly higher than the official exchange rate, which was about 274 at the beginning of the month and 307 on Tuesday.

Also complicating matters is a June 30 order by the junta that exports of beans, corn, sesame and other vegetables be paid in dollars. The junta also changed the kyat to dollar exchange rate from 1,850 to 2,100 on Aug. 5, then instructed traders to change 65 percent of their export earnings into kyats, a move that analysts believe was an attempt to control the dollar market and acquire greenbacks.


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