On This Day

The Day Myanmar Gained Control over the Kyat

By Wei Yan Aung 1 July 2020

Yangon — On this day in 1952, the Union Bank of Burma (now the Central Bank of the Union of Myanmar) gained full monetary autonomy from Britain, four years after gaining independence.

The bank issued its first kyats on July 1, 1952. Before that, the Burma Currency Board – which was formed under the Burma Financial Act 1946, and included monetary advisers from Britain and Myanmar – took charge of issuing banknotes, printing the notes in Britain.

The Union Bank was established in April 1948 under the 1947 Act of Union Bank of Burma. However, it could not regulate other banks until the Union Bank of Burma Act was enacted on July 1, 1952.

The 1952 act annulled the Burma Currency Board, granting the bank authority to issue banknotes, banking licenses, regulate loans, manage foreign currency exchange and provide the government with input in designing monetary and financial policies.

The bank was established with authorized capital of 40 million kyats and a paid-up capital of 10 million kyats by the government. The kyat then became an internationally traded currency with an exchange rate of 5 kyats per US dollar.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko

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