Myanmar starts new currency regime, 818 kyat per dlr

YANGON, April 2 Mon Apr 2, 2012 1:52am EDT

YANGON, April 2 (Reuters) - Myanmar's central bank said it set a reference exchange rate of 818 kyat per dollar on Monday, the first business day under a managed float currency regime that is the most dramatic economic reform yet by a one-year-old civilian government.

Until now the kyat has been fixed at around 6.4 per dollar although a parallel market exists, with a recent rate in a range of 800 to 820 kyat. That rate has been used for most everyday transactions.

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) gave the rate on its website, along with indicative cross rates for other currencies. ()

It has given little information about the new system but commercial bankers have said the reference rate would be set after an auction for dollars involving up to 14 private and state-run banks.

The government used a rate of 800 baht per dollar for the state budget for the fiscal year that began on April 1.

The kyat's unofficial rate has jumped from more than 1,000 per dollar in 2009 as foreign money has flowed into the energy and resource sectors.

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