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Purchasing Power

Burmese Currency

The Union Bank of Burma issued Burmese Currency notes backed by Gold Reserves.

The bills were signed by authorities (e.g. Sithu U Kaung, U San Lin).

One US dollar traded at 5 – 6 kyats, and one Sterling pound around 12 – 13 kyats.

Old Receipt from 1979

The Old Receipt (for 146 Kyats and 50 Pyas) is a testament of the purchasing power in the 70s.

It was for a farewell dinner for Saya U Myo Win (M/Ag65) by 25 members of the RIT Automobile Club.

Decline in the value of the Kyat

Three rounds of Demonetization, mismanagement, … saw a huge decline in the value of the Kyat.

Snap shots of the exchange rate :

  • 1 Kyat = 4 (or more) Bahts (Early days)
  • 1 Kyat = 1 Baht (Baht Taik Kyat Taik Khit)
  • 4 (or more Kyats) = 1 Baht

In Lighter Vein

Four (or so) decades ago, a Palmist friend told me that I would own 10 Lakhs. The top prize for the “Aung Bar Lay” Lottery was 1 Lakh. A professor’s monthly salary was K1300. A lecturer earned 800 – 1200 kyats.

Fast forward.

A few years back, my friend had to pay 10 Lakhs for a visit to a hospital in Yangon.

Another friend had to pay 800+ Lakhs to a hospital in Singapore. Luckily, he had inherited a fortune from his parents.

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