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New currency note in Myanmar raises concerns

  • Story Highlights
  • The new 5,000 kyat note is worth less than US$5
  • Currently the largest Myanmar bank note is the 1,000 kyat bill
  • Announcement raised concerns Myanmar's economy is not faring well
  • Decision could depreciate the value of the country's currency
By Kocha Olarn
CNN
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Myanmar's government announced Thursday that it will begin circulating a new currency note next week.

The new note would be the largest unveiled by the military regime.

The new note would be the largest unveiled by the military regime.

The 5,000 kyat note, which is worth less than US$5, will be the largest bank note that the southeast Asian country has ever had. It will be released into circulation on October 1, according to an announcement on Myanmar's state-run MRTV.

There was no explanation for the government's decision to introduce the new bill. Currently, the largest note is the 1,000 kyat bill, which is worth less than $1

The announcement has raised concerns that Myanmar's economy is not faring well, said a veteran independent journalist who lives in Yangon. He declined to be named citing security concerns.

Myanmar is a closed country whose military rulers have a tight grip on information and do not tolerate dissent or criticism.

The journalist said the cost of living is already high for the average person in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. The decision to introduce the 5,000 kyat bill could depreciate the value of the country's currency and have broader economic repercussions, he said.

The sudden cancellation of some Burmese currencies in 1987 sparked anger and led to a mass demonstration in August 1988.

At that time, people's savings were diminished overnight.

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