Myanmar’s junta powerless as economy at brink of destruction


Nay pyi taw
Myanmar’s currency has lost more than 60% of its value since the beginning of September in a collapse that has driven up food and fuel prices in an economy that has tanked since a military coup eight months ago.
“This will rattle the generals as they are quite obsessed with the kyat rate as a broader barometer of the economy, and therefore a reflection on them,” Richard Horsey, a Myanmar expert at the International Crisis Group, said.
In August, the Central Bank of Myanmar tried tethering the kyat 0.8% either side of its reference rate against the dollar, but gave up on Sept. 10 as pressure on the exchange rate mounted.
The shortage of dollars has become so bad that some money changers have pulled down their shutters.
“Due to the currency price instability at the moment…all Northern Breeze Exchange Service branches are temporarily closed,” the money changer said on Facebook.
Those still operating were quoting a rate of 2,700 kyat per dollar on Tuesday, compared to 1,695 on Sept. 1 and 1,395 back on Feb.1 when the military overthrew a democratically elected government led by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a report published on Monday, the World Bank predicted the economy would slump by 18% this year, partly due to the pandemic, and said Myanmar would see the biggest contraction in employment in the region and the number of poor in the country would rise.