Burma Announces Currency Exchange Overhaul

Posted March 28th, 2012 at 5:30 am (UTC-5)
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The Burmese government says it will undertake a major overhaul of its currency system as part of its program to modernize the nation's moribund economy.

The official New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Wednesday the central bank will implement a managed floating exchange rate effective April 1, the same day parliamentary by-elections will be held. The newspaper says the new system will allow the value of the kyat to be determined by “supply and demand conditions in the exchange market.”

The New Light of Myanmar also says the government will unify the country's various exchange rates.

The currency is currently pegged at 6.4 kyat to the U.S. dollar, far below the black market rate of about 800 kyat to the dollar.

The currency issue is among the many reform efforts undertaken by the new nominally civilian government which assumed power last year from a longstanding military junta. The changes include greater press freedoms, holding talks with democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and allowing her and her political party, the National League for Democracy, to compete in the coming by-elections.