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Myanmar eyes junta's old tricks to fight weaker currency

Import restrictions considered to stem foreign reserve depletion

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A staff hands a stack of Myanmar Kyat to another at a bank in Yangon.   © Reuters

YANGON -- Desperate to halt the severe depreciation of its national currency, Myanmar's democratically elected government may revive drastic measures that were employed by the military junta.

The kyat has lost about 20% of its value against the greenback in the past six months due to Myanmar's growing fiscal and trade deficits stemming from lower prices for natural gas, the country's main export. With the latest U.S. rate hike further strengthening the dollar, currency exchange shops in this major commercial city demanded more than 1,400 kyat for $1 for the first time on Dec. 15.

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