15 June 2011
Burmese kyat has siginificantly strengthened in recent months (DVB)
Remittance services used by thousands of Burmese abroad are grinding to a halt following a recent drop in circulation of the Burmese currency, the kyat.
Money is regularly sent by relatives abroad to families in Burma via an of informal value transfer system known as the hundi, which often acts as a lifeline for citizens of Southeast Asia’s poorest country. The World Bank estimated that in 2008 alone, remittances totalled $US150 million.
But a strengthening of the kyat has meant that the flow of money to families inside Burma has dramatically slowed, from a normal one-day transfer period to up to three days depending on the location of the sender.