Myanmar’s Economy Crumbles, Nation Short on Cash

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By Thu Thu Aung, Shoon Naing and Antoni Slodkowski

(Reuters) -If you need cash in Myanmar, you have to get up early. Queues start forming outside banks at 4 a.m., where the first 15 or 30 customers are given a plastic token that will allow them to enter the bank when it opens at 9:30 a.m. and withdraw cash, according to more than a dozen people who spoke to Reuters.

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If you do not get a token, you either have to queue for hours for the few functioning cash dispensing machines outside or go to black-market brokers who charge big commissions.

The cash crisis is one of the most pressing problems for the people of Myanmar after the Feb. 1 military coup. The central bank, now run by a junta appointee, has not returned some of the reserves it holds for private banks, without giving any reason, leaving the banks short of cash.

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