Myanmar protest: Myanmar military coup creates banking problems | World News – Times of India

YANGON: Early bird customers at a military-owned bank lined up anxiously as dawn crept over Yangon, after a new hard limit on daily cash withdrawals fueled rumors of ‘a shortage of money after the coup Myanmar.
Myawaddy Bank is one of dozens of military-controlled companies in Myanmar facing boycott pressure since generals ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi of power on February 1.
Nationwide protests have called on employees – including bank workers – to skip work, grabbing a banking sector heavily dominated by the military and its cronies ahead of monthly payday this Friday.
For those in need of cash, it doesn’t help that no clear information has been released.
In Yangon Mall, private banks mostly remain closed, government banks appear partially open, and getting money from ATMs seems like an easy task.
Uncertainty has fueled fears of a cash crunch, said Tun Naing, a 43-year-old businessman who has been in line daily since last week to withdraw six million Burmese kyat – or about $ 4,500 – from his account. Myawaddy bank.
“Because of the rumors about this bank, I came to withdraw my money,” he told AFP.
Despite being Myanmar’s sixth largest national bank, Myawaddy only allows 200 clients per branch to make withdrawals limited to 500,000 kyat per day, or about $ 370.
Getting a spot in the morning is key, with “some people staying at nearby hotels lining up early for tokens,” Tun Naing said.
Others are not so lucky.
Myint Myint, a retired professor, has been in line every day for a week but has still not been able to make a withdrawal.
“I’m really fed up,” the 64-year-old told AFP.
“They should report through (state media) that our money is fine … Although my savings are not much, I am worried about the rumors.”
Despite irregular bank hours in Yangon, a notice in the state newspaper New Light of Myanmar claimed that daily services were still being provided.
“People are invited to participate in this process to ensure the economic stability of the country”, reads the opinion of the Central Bank.
While the risk of a liquidity shortage in the country is high, the timing is unpredictable, said Myanmar-born international trade expert Htwe Htwe Thein of Curtin University in Australia.
“In the past, under the previous military government, they were known to print money and that of course raised inflation,” she told AFP.
Myanmar’s economy before the coup was already facing severe headwinds related to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures.
And the situation is expected to worsen due to a civil disobedience movement that forces officials to boycott the work.
The generals have already been hit with sanctions by the United States, Great Britain, Canada and European Union, and the economy as a whole is also at risk of reputational damage and a decline in foreign direct investment.
International credit rating agency Fitch quickly revised the country’s growth estimates for most of 2021 down from 5.6% to 2% on the day of the coup, citing “high political risks” .
A potential pause on inflows of foreign funds has sounded the alarm for activist group Justice for Myanmar, which says generals could now dip into Myanmar’s foreign exchange reserves worth $ 6.7 billion .
So far, US sanctions have included a $ 1 billion asset freeze.
“If foreign banks continue to do business with these military-controlled banks, they will be complicit in supporting the military regime,” Justice for Myanmar said.
On the ground, concerns are more immediate – like how companies will pay their employees at the end of the month or how seniors will receive their pensions as hundreds of thousands take to the streets to protest the coup. ‘State.
Aye Aye, 85, said that between her bank’s unclear opening schedule and protesters on the streets, she is reluctant to withdraw her pension until the situation calms down.
“I’ll take it next month,” she said, though it would likely put some strain on her family as she is taking care of two sick parents.
“I have enough difficulties already,” she told AFP.
“As I am old, I only worry about today.”
On Tuesday outside a branch of Myawaddy, an isolated security guard tried to calm a small crowd demanding the withdrawal of their funds.
He shouted that corporate accounts were prioritized so they could pay wages.
“We will resume cash withdrawals once these companies (have made their withdrawals),” he announced at the doors of the banks, preventing an anxious crowd from entering.

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