Myanmar Currency Hits Record Low as Economy Fails to Normalize

Myanmar's foreign exchange hit a record low of 1,660 kyat on the dollar on Monday, according to state media. Despite continuous efforts by the junta, the currency has lost 20% of its value since a military coup on Feb. 1, Nikkei Asia reported. The previous record low was 1,650 kyat on the dollar in September 2018 when the China-U.S. trade war led to a fall in the value of the yuan. That also brought down the kyat. The drop results from growing distrust in the national currency that has prompted many to turn to money changers in search of hard currencies. The exchange rate continued to spiral down on on Monday, going below 1,685 kyat in the open market -- lower than reported by state media. That led some money exchangers in Yangon to shut up business for the day earlier than usual. Separately from the exchange rate, the central bank also calculates a reference rate for banks to use among themselves, and for corporates trading and investing overseas. The reference rate held steady at 1,593.5 kyat on Monday, doing better than the lows recorded in September 2018. That suggests popular distrust on the streets is the main driver pushing down the currency value. Read more.