Cross-border traders between Myanmar and China are being battered by Yangon’s currency policy and the need for export licences, state media said on Sunday.
The traders have been critical of the gap between the market rate and the regulated exchange rate of the local kyat and US dollar, The Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported.
The official rate is 1,850 kyats to the greenback, but street rates have exceeded 3,000 kyats per dollar in recent weeks.
Last week, Myanmar’s central bank ordered companies with up to 35% foreign ownership to convert their foreign exchange into the local currency, extending a rule aimed at relieving pressure on the kyat to include more businesses.
In April, the central bank exempted foreign entities from the new policy after the rule had triggered an outcry among business groups and residents.
In addition, since May traders have needed to seek an export licence even for basic crops such as lentils and soybeans. The rule was enacted to control domestic prices.
Under the latest rules, a list of Myanmar companies with up to 35% foreign ownership had been sent to foreign exchange dealers, who are required to convert currencies and submit the amount by 6 p.m. on Monday, the paper reported.
Unspecified action would be taken against anyone not following the rules, the report said.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military staged a coup last year, arresting civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi. The Southeast Asian country’s economy has also tanked since the coup, which halted a decade of political and economic reforms.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell