New US trade preferences highlight challenges for Myanmar exporters

Myanmar’s business sector has welcomed US plans to lift almost all remaining sanctions against the country and reinstitute special trade preferences, but some industries could find it hard to take advantage of the new environment. US President Barack Obama announced this week that he intends to lift the state of emergency the US declared against Myanmar in […]

CBM plans to practice RTGS online

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has planned to practice Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) online to transfer money between banks and customers, according to a CBM representative. The online system can save time, but according to the report, banks must build trust between one another. Currently, a small number of banks use the system […]

Myanmar banks offer international credit cards

In a boon for holiday shoppers, Myanmar banks are starting to offer customers international credit cards for the first time. The country has only recently returned to true credit cards, which disappeared in the wake of the 2003 banking crisis. At the start of this year some 2 million “credit cards” had been issued, but most operated […]

Western Union launches outbound money transfer service in Myanmar

WESTERN UNION, a global payment services provider, has launched Myanmar’s first outbound money-transfer service, three years after launching inbound services. Patricia Riingen, the firm’s senior vice president for Southeast Asia and Oceania, said the target consumers would be people aged from 25 to 60 who are active on social media and have international exposure (either […]

CBM buys dollars to ‘reduce panic’

The Central Bank has bought over US$40 million dollars from private lenders in just five days to “reduce panic and prevent volatility”, a Central Bank official told The Myanmar Times, while banks this week once again imposed limits on foreign exchange due to volatility. Private banks started their sudden net transfer of dollars to the […]

Surging kyat closes foreign exchange desks

  Local banks suspended foreign currency exchange services yesterday as the kyat surged in value against the dollar, with financial industry sources variously pointing the finger at political speculation, market rumours and a lack of clear Central Bank policy. The kyat strengthened to K1248 against the dollar yesterday, according to the Central Bank’s rate, after […]

Capital Hypermarket to accept Visa cards

Visa has signed with Capital Hypermarket to roll out card payments through domestic CB Bank in the local supermarket’s outlets, according to a February 8 announcement. Local and foreign customers will be able to pay using Visa pre-paid, debit and credit cards at seven Capital branches and 93 Grab & Go convenience stores around the […]

Parliament passes Financial Institutions Law

After years of back and forth, the Banks and Financial Institutions Law of Myanmar has been passed by parliament and is now awaiting the president’s signature, with banks to face more stringent rules on raising paid-up capital and on reserve requirements. Lenders will have to keep 5 percent of customer deposits as cash with the […]

CBM brings real-time settlement to banks

Myanmar’s banking system has taken another step toward modernisation, courtesy of the Central Bank’s new clearing and settlement system, which will make an “immense difference” to lenders’ day-to-day operations, bankers said. The long-awaited system – built with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) – went live on January 6, according to an […]

US rate hike puts spotlight on importers

The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since 2006 yesterday – an event long-feared by developing economies. Myanmar is better protected from the potential fallout than many, although the country’s reliance on imports leaves it exposed to a strengthening dollar. The Federal Reserve increased the Federal Funds rate – the rate […]