Central Bank of Myanmar takes action to dispel rumors of counterfeit banknotes

Myanmar Central Bank officials are trying to counter rumors that the newly printed, legitimate banknotes are counterfeit money.

U Win Thaw, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank, told VOA Burmese on Thursday that the newly printed currency in circulation was real, although it looks and feels slightly different compared to old notes.

“There’s no problem with counterfeit tickets,” Win Thaw said. “The Central Bank issues the banknotes and we have a responsibility to ensure their quality and security.”

After the European Union issued sanctions that prevented companies from doing business in Myanmar after the military junta seized power on February 1, 2021, the German company Giesecke+Devrient of Munich ceased production of banknotes. bank, according to the AFP news agency.

Although Myanmar’s junta-controlled Central Bank “has not officially announced that it is printing new currency, new banknotes began to enter circulation in August 2021”, according to The Irrawaddy, a local media outlet. As the colors of some new notes faded or changed, people began to question them, with the latest round of doubts occurring earlier this month.

Win Thaw said the bank will “identify and take action” against people who published “false information” about the new counterfeit currency, a move he said was “the work of blind and destructive opposition to attack the prosperous banking sector”. This is the third and fourth time this has happened.”

There is a history of counterfeiters targeting Myanmar’s currency, the kyat. In 2014, the government started issuing banknotes with security features to help detect counterfeit currency. However, on March 5, workers at a garment factory in Hlaing Tharyar, a township in western Yangon, found counterfeit 10,000 kyat bills in their pay. A 10,000 kyat note is worth around $5.60.

The latest rumors of counterfeit notes have tapped into the erosion of confidence in the kyat following the coup, which left the military facing what Lindsay Maizland, editor/Asia editor at the Council on Foreign Relations, called “widespread and fierce opposition”. organized citizen militias and a shadow government formed by officials of the fallen administration.

The value of the kyat against the dollar fell from 1,329 on January 31, 2021, the day before the coup, to 1,775 on March 16, 2022.

Economist Than Soe told VOA Burmese, “People are already losing faith in the kyat, which has led to a decline in the value of the currency. People are less willing to hold on to the kyat.”

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