In Myanmar, cash is very much still king

But change is in the air with the creeping advance of foreign banks and the mushrooming of automated teller machines

IT WAS one of the strangest experiences of my recent holiday in Yangon, Myanmar - I found myself kneeling on the floor, helping my local friend to run stacks of Burmese kyat through a currency counter to ensure that it amounted to the right payment of 50 million kyat (S$64,000).

My friend works for a Singapore enterprise based in Yangon. Earlier, he had said that he needed to run an errand and asked if I would be interested to witness an all-cash transaction.

I hadn't known that most Burmese continue to trade exclusively in hard cash, and that around four-fifths of the population don't even have a bank account. Credit provision to the private sector also remains low, at less than 25 per cent of...

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