Financial protest in Myanmar turns lethal
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Financial protest in Myanmar turns lethal

The attack follows the introduction of new foreign currency rules.

A soldier stands outside the Central Bank of Myanmar in Yangon during a protest against the military coup. Photo: Reuters

Than Than Swe, a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Myanmar, was shot and wounded by gunmen at her apartment in Yangon on April 7.

The shooting happened after the central bank introduced new foreign currency rules on April 3 requiring banks and other holders of foreign currency to convert their deposits into the local kyat currency.

The rules prompted widespread complaint in Myanmar, all the more so since the notification by the central bank required foreign currency holders to convert “within one working day”. The notification added: “Failure to comply with this notice will result in legal action under the Foreign Exchange Management Law.”

Kyat interventions

The measure was seen as an attempt to halt the slide of the kyat, which has fallen from an (informal) rate of 1,330 before the February 1, 2021, coup, to a low of 2,200 that September. At the time of writing, after prolonged interventions to support the currency, it stands at a fixed rate around 1,850.

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