Kyat
ကျပ်ငွေ (formal)
ကျပ် (informal)
Ks. 1,000/- (2004)Ks. 1,000/- (2020)
ISO 4217
CodeMMK (numeric: 104)
Subunit0.01
Unit
SymbolK‎ (singular)
Ks. (plural)
Denominations
Subunit
1100pya
Banknotes
 Freq. usedKs. 50/-, Ks. 100/-, Ks. 200/-, Ks. 500/-, Ks. 1,000/-, Ks. 5,000/-, Ks. 10,000/-
 Rarely usedKs. -/50, K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/-, Ks. 20/-, Ks.  20,000/-
Coins
 Rarely usedK 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/-, Ks. 50/-, Ks. 100/-.
Demographics
ReplacedBurmese rupee
User(s) Myanmar
Issuance
Central bankCentral Bank of Myanmar
 Websitewww.cbm.gov.mm
Valuation
Inflation23%
 SourceThe World Factbook, 2023 est.

The kyat (US: /ˈɑːt/ or /ˈkjɑːt/;[1] Burmese: ကျပ် [tɕaʔ]; ISO 4217 code MMK) is the currency of Myanmar (Burma). The typical notation for the kyat is "K" (singular) and "Ks." (plural), placed before the numerals followed by "/-". Amounts less than K. 1/- are typically denoted with the number of pyas following "-/" (e.g. -/50 denotes half a kyat).

The term kyat derives from the Burmese unit kyattha (Burmese: ကျပ်သား), equal to 16.3 (16.329324593) grams of silver.[2][3]

Current MMK exchange rates

From 2001 to 2012, the official exchange rate varied between Ks. 5/75 and Ks. 6/70 per US dollar (Ks. 8/20 to Ks. 7/- per euro). However, the street rate (black market rate), which more accurately took into account the standing of the national economy, has varied from Ks. 750/- to Ks. 1,335/- per USD (Ks. 985/- to Ks. 1,475/- per EUR). The black market exchange rates (USD to MMK) decrease during the peak of the tourist season in Burma (December to January). During the 2003 Myanmar banking crisis, the kyat's black market rate appreciated when distrust in kyat-deposited banks increased demand for kyat banknotes.[4] At its peak, the kyat traded for as high as Ks. 850/- per USD.[5]

On 2 April 2012, the Central Bank of Myanmar announced that the value of the kyat against the US dollar would float, setting an initial rate of Ks.818/- per US dollar.[6]

On 20 March 2013, the Finance Ministry announced that it would abolish Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC), which were mandatory for tourists to buy at least US$200 worth of until 2003, a measure used to discourage visitors from exchanging on the black market.[7]

More than a year after a coup d'état caused the overthrow of a democratically elected government, capital flight from Myanmar and inflation accelerated, causing the value of the kyat to plummet to 3500 kyats per USD in the informal market as of August 2022.[8] By May 2024, the exchange rate had increased to 5000/- per USD on the black market, with the junta reportedly abandoning the fixed exchange rate of 2100.[9][10]

Current MMK exchange rates
From Google Finance: AUD CAD CHF CNY EUR GBP HKD JPY USD BDT INR THB
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD CHF CNY EUR GBP HKD JPY USD BDT INR THB
From XE.com: AUD CAD CHF CNY EUR GBP HKD JPY USD BDT INR THB
From OANDA: AUD CAD CHF CNY EUR GBP HKD JPY USD BDT INR THB

History

First kyat, 1852–1889

1 kyat silver coin of King Mindon Min, 1853

The kyat was a denomination of both silver and gold coinages in Burma until 1889. It was divided into 16 pe, each of 4 pya, with the mu and mat worth 2 and 4 pe, respectively. Nominally, 16 silver kyats equal 1 gold kyat. The silver kyat was equivalent to the Indian rupee, which replaced the kyat after Burma was conquered by the British.

Second Kyat, 1943–1945

When the Japanese occupied Burma in 1942, they introduced a currency based on the rupee. This was later replaced by banknotes in all kyat denominations. This kyat was subdivided into 100 cents. The currency became worthless at the end of the war when the Burmese rupee was reintroduced in 1945.

Third kyat, 1952–present

The present kyat was introduced on 1 July 1952. It replaced the rupee at par. Decimalisation also took place, with the kyat subdivided into 100 pyas.

Coins

First kyat

During the Konbaung dynasty, Mindon Min, the second to last King of Burma, established the Royal Mint in Mandalay (Central Burma). The dies were made in Paris. Silver coins were minted in denominations of 1 pe, 1 mu (2 pe), 1 mat (4 pe), 5 mu (8 pe) and 1 kyat, with gold 1 pe and 1 mu. The obverses bore the Royal Peacock Seal, from which the coins got their name. The reverse contained the denomination and mint date (in the Burmese era, which starts from AD 638). In the 1860s and 1870s, lead coins were issued for 18 and 14 pya, with copper, brass, tin and iron 14 pe (1 pya) and copper 2 pya. Further gold coins were issued in 1866 for 1 pe, 2+12 mu and 1 kyat, with 5 mu issued in 1878.

Second kyat

No coins were issued for this currency.

Third kyat

In 1952, coins were introduced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 pyas and K 1/-. The new coins bore the same obverse figure of the Chinthe from the Second kyat coins and the same reverse design, with the value of the coin in Burmese script and numerals surrounded by Burmese flower designs.

1956-1966 issued coins [11]
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Diameter Mass Composition Edge Obverse Reverse
1 pya 18 mm 2.2 g Bronze
90% copper
10% zinc
Plain Chinthe Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
5 pyas 19.5 mm 3.17 g Copper-nickel Plain Chinthe Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
10 pyas 19.5 mm 4.46 g Copper-nickel Plain Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
25 pyas 24.1 mm 6.78 g Copper-nickel Plain Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
50 pyas 26 mm 7.8 g Copper-nickel Security edge Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
1 kyat 30.5 mm 11.65 g Copper-nickel Security edge Value (digit),Value (writing), year of minting, Myanmar flower designs 1956
These images are to scale at 2.5 pixels per millimetre. For table standards, see the coin specification table.

In 1966, all coins were redesigned to feature Aung San on the obverse and were all changed in composition to aluminium. Furthermore, the coins were slightly reduced in size. However, they retained the same shapes and overall appearance of the previous series of coins. These were circulated until being discontinued in 1983.

In 1983, a new series of coins was issued in bronze or brass 5, 10, 25, 50 pyas and cupro-nickel 1 kyat. Although the 25 pyas were initially round, it was later redesigned as hexagonal due to size and appearance confusions with the 10 and 50 pyas. These would be the last official series of coins to be issued under the name of "Burma."

1 pya coins were last minted in 1966, with the 5 and 25 pyas last minted in 1987 and the 10 and 50 pyas in 1991.

In 1999, a new series of coins was issued in denominations of bronze K 1/-, brass Ks. 5/- and Ks. 10/-, and cupro-nickel Ks. 50/- and Ks. 100/- under the name "Central Bank of Myanmar." These are also the first coins of Burma to depict Latin letters. These coins were intended for vendors and services as an alternative to large amounts of worn out, low denomination banknotes. High inflation has since pushed these coins out of circulation.

In late 2008, the Myanmar government announced that new Ks. 50/- and Ks. 100/- coins would be issued. According to newspaper articles, the new Ks. 50/- coin would be made of copper, with the usual Burmese lion on the obverse and the Lotus Fountain from Naypyidaw on the reverse. The Ks.100/- coin would be of cupro-nickel and depict the Burmese lion on the obverse and the value on the reverse.

1991 Series
Image Value Technical parameters Description Date of first minting
Diameter Weight Composition Edge Obverse Reverse
[12] 10 pyas 20.4 mm Brass Rice plant, "Central Bank of Myanmar" in Burmese Value in Burmese numerals 1991
50 pyas 24.6 mm Brass Rice plant, "Central Bank of Myanmar" in Burmese Value in Burmese numerals 1991
1999 Series
[13] K 1/- 19.03 2.95 Bronze Plain Chinthe, "Central Bank of Myanmar" and value in Burmese Bank title and value in English and Arabic numerals 1999
[14] Ks. 5/- 20 mm 2.73 g Brass Plain Chinthe, "Central Bank of Myanmar" and value in Burmese Bank title and value in English and Arabic numerals 1999
[15] Ks. 10/- 22.3 mm 4.45 g
[16] Ks. 50/- 23.85 mm 5.06 g Cupronickel Reeded Chinthe, "Central Bank of Myanmar" and value in Burmese Bank title and value in English and Arabic numerals 1999
[17] Ks. 100/- 26.8 mm 7.52 g
For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Banknotes

First kyat

No banknotes were issued for this currency.

Second kyat

The Burma State Bank issued notes for K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/- and Ks. 100/- in 1944, followed by a further issue of Ks. 100/- notes in 1945.

1944–45 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of issue Remark
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark
K 1/- 109 × 63 mm Blue Peacock and "1 kyat" inscribed in Burmese script with rising sun in background Mandalay Royal Palace "Bamar" written in the Burmese language embedded in guilloché pattern 1944
Ks. 5/- 130 × 72 mm Red Peacock and "5 kyats" written in Burmese with rising sun in background
Ks. 10/- 146 × 84 mm Green Peacock and "10 kyats" written in Burmese with rising sun in background
Ks. 100/- 160 × 90 mm Bright Orange Peacock and "100 kyats" written in Burmese with rising sun in background
Ks. 100/- 155 × 95 mm Dark blue Peacock and "100 kyats" written over Burmese "100" numerals with image of Head of State Ba Maw on right Mandalay Royal Palace in center bordered by Burmese nāgas with "100" in Burmese numerals on left and right Head of State Ba Maw's image 1945
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

Third kyat

A 5 kyat denomination note featuring Aung San

In 1952, the Union Bank of Burma formed a currency board which took over control of the issuing of currency and a more important change to the currency was the introduction of the decimal system in which 1 kyat was decimalised into 100 pyas.[18]

On 12 February 1958, the Union Bank of Burma introduced the first kyat notes, in denominations of K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/- and Ks. 100/-. These were very similar in design to the last series of rupee notes, issued earlier. Later on, 21 August 1958, Ks. 20/- and Ks. 50/- notes were introduced. The Ks. 50/- and Ks. 100/- notes were demonetised on 15 May 1964. This was the first of several demonetisations, ostensibly carried out with the aim of fighting black marketeering.

Ever since the Third Kyat was introduced, the Burmese currency has no indication of the date in which the note came into circulation nor the signature of the issuing authority.

1965–1971

The People's Bank of Burma took over note production in 1965 with an issue of K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/- and Ks. 20/- notes.

1965 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark
K 1/- 115 × 66 mm Purple and grey General Aung San (1915–1947) Inle Lake fisherman Series of semi-circles 30 April 1965
Ks. 5/- 150 × 70 mm Green Farmer and cow Pattern throughout paper 1965
Ks. 10/- 159 × 81 mm Red Woman picking cotton
Ks. 20/- 169 × 90 mm Brown Cultivating tractor

1972–1988

In 1972, the Union of Burma Bank took over note issuance, with notes introduced between 1972 and 1979 for K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/-, Ks. 25/-, Ks. 50/- and Ks. 100/-. The notes were printed by the Security Printing Works in Wazi, Upper Burma (established c. 1972) under the technical direction of German printing firm Giesecke & Devrient.

On 3 November 1985, the Ks. 50/-, and Ks. 100/- notes were demonetized without warning, though the public was allowed to exchange limited amounts of these old notes for new ones. All other denominations then in circulation remained legal tender. On 10 November 1985, Ks. 75/- notes were introduced, the odd denomination possibly chosen because of dictator general Ne Win's predilection for numerology; the Ks. 75/- note was supposedly introduced to commemorate his 75th birthday. It was followed by the introduction of Ks. 15/- and Ks. 35/- notes on 1 August 1986.

Only two years later, on 5 September 1987, the government demonetised the Ks. 25/-, Ks. 35/-, and Ks. 75/- notes without warning or compensation, rendering some 75% of the country's currency worthless and eliminating the savings of millions of Burmese people. On 22 September 1987, banknotes for Ks. 45/- and Ks. 90/- were introduced, both of which incorporated Ne Win's favourite number, nine. The resulting economic disturbances led to serious riots and eventually a coup d'état in 1988 by General Saw Maung.

1972-1987 Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse issue issue suspension
K 1/- 124 × 60 mm Green General Aung San Weaving Loom 31 October 1972 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 5/- 136 × 70 mm Blue Palm Tree 31 October 1973 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 10/- 146 × 80 mm Reddish Brown Ceremonial Offering Bowl 30 June 1973 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 15/- 149 × 71 mm Light green Zawgyi wood carving 1 August 1986 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 25/- 155 × 90 mm Orange Pyinsarupa 3 November 1985 5 September 1987
Ks. 35/- 155 × 74 mm Violet Standing Nat Thar 1 August 1986 5 September 1987
Ks. 45/- 158 × 77,5 mm Blue-green Thakin Po Hla Gyi (1909–1943) Oil field workers and oil drills 22 September 1987 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 50/- 166 × 100 mm Yellow-Brown General Aung San Law Ka Nat July 1979 3 November 1985
Ks. 75/- 161 × 77 mm Brown 10 November 1985 5 September 1987
Ks. 90/- 167 × 80 mm Light green Saya San (1876–1931) Farmers and bullock cart 22 September 1987 Fall into disuse, wear and tear
Ks. 100/- 176 × 110 mm Light green General Aung San Saung gauk 1 August 1976 3 November 1985
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

Banknotes of K -/50, K 1/- and Ks. 5/- are rare. Most daily transactions are rounded up to the nearest Ks.10/-.

1989–present

Following the change of the country's name to Myanmar on 20 June 1989, new notes were issued, returning to more practical denominations. Old notes were not demonetised, but simply allowed to fall into disuse through inflation as well as wear and tear. On 1 March 1990, K 1/- notes were issued, followed by Ks.200/- notes on 27 March 1990. On 27 March 1994, notes for K -/50 (50 pyas), Ks. 20/-, Ks. 50/-, Ks. 100/-, and Ks. 500/- were issued, followed on 1 May 1995, by new Ks. 5/- and Ks. 10/- notes. Ks. 1,000/- notes were introduced in November 1998.

In 2003, as public trust eroded during the 2003 Myanmar banking crisis,[19] rumours of another pending demonetisation swept through the country, which the junta denied. The rumours did not materialize.[citation needed]

In 2004, the sizes of the Ks. 200/-, Ks. 500/-, and Ks. 1,000/- notes were reduced to make all Burmese banknotes uniform in size. Larger notes were allowed to remain in circulation. K -/50, K 1/-, Ks. 5/-, Ks. 10/- and Ks. 20/- banknotes are now rarely seen, because of their low value.

New banknotes of higher denominations

On 1 October 2009, Ks. 5,000/- banknotes were issued measuring 150 x 70 mm, with images of a white elephant and the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw This new denomination was five times larger than the previous largest denomination.[20] Some welcomed a higher value note that reduced the number of banknotes needed for transaction. Other responses suggested widespread fear that the banknote would simply fuel the inflation. This fear may have been supported by a jump in the black market exchange rates following the public announcement of the banknote.[21][22]

On 9 June 2012, the Central Bank announced that Ks. 10,000/- notes would be introduced into circulation to better facilitate financial transactions in a largely cash-oriented economy. They were issued on 15 June 2012.[23][24]

Obverse of the 2014 Ks. 5,000/- note

On 1 October 2014, the Central Bank introduced new Ks. 5,000/- banknotes with additional security features to prevent counterfeiting. The revised notes are varnished and have enhanced printing, watermarks, and security thread. The new notes remained the same size, colour and design as the 2009 issue, which continues to be used. The new notes followed recent incidents of counterfeit Ks. 5,000/- and Ks. 10,000/- banknotes, including a 12 September 2014 seizure of Ks. 10,000/- notes and a printer allegedly used to make them.[25]

In 2019, the Central Bank of Myanmar issued a new series of banknotes that feature a portrait of its national hero Aung San after longstanding calls to redesign the kyat. The first denomination issued for this new series was the Ks. 1,000/- banknote, which was issued into circulation on 4 January 2020,[26] followed by the Ks. 500/- banknote on 19 July 2020.[27]

In July 2023, a new Ks. 20,000/- banknote was announced amidst economic instability from the aftermath of the 2021 Myanmar coup d'état. The reasoning was not explained, but was likely to commemorate the birth of a white elephant and the construction of the Maravijaya Buddha statue in Naypyidaw. The banknote saw limited circulation at only select central bank branches.[28]

Current Series
Image Value Dimensions Main Color Description Date of issue Remark
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse Watermark
K -/50 110 × 55 mm Obverse: Purple and orange
Reverse: Multicolor
Saung gauk Guilloché pattern "BCM" 27 March 1994
K 1/- Orange Bogyoke Aung San Guilloché pattern Bogyoke Aung San 1 March 1990
K 1/- Blue-purple Chinthe Boat-rowing at Kandawgyi Lake, Yangon "BCM" 31 October 1996
Ks. 5/- 130 × 60 mm Brown and blue Chinlone cane ball game Chinthe 1 May 1995
Chinthe bust over value 1997
Ks. 10/- Purple A karaweik (royal regalia boat) Chinthe 1 May 1995
Chinthe bust over value 1997
Ks. 20/- 145 × 70 mm Green People's Park and Elephant Fountain, Yangon Chinthe bust over value 27 March 1994
Ks. 50/- Orange-brown Lacquerware artisan Chinthe 27 March 1994
Chinthe bust over value 1997
Ks. 100/- Blue, green, and pink Temple renovation Chinthe 27 March 1994
Chinthe bust over value
[29] [30] Ks. 200/- 165 × 80 mm Dark green Elephant teak-logger Chinthe 27 March 1990; 1998 Value below watermark
Chinthe bust over value
150 × 70 mm Chinthe bust over value 11 December 2004 Value above watermark
[31] [32] Ks. 500/- 165 × 80 mm Purple and brown A General Mahabandoola statue being painted Chinthe 27 March 1994 Value above watermark
Chinthe bust over value
150 × 70 mm Chinthe bust over value 10 October 2004 Value below watermark
Ks. 500/- 150 × 70 mm Red and pink Aung San Headquarters of the Central Bank of Myanmar in Naypyidaw 19 July 2020 Value below watermark
Ks. 1,000/- 165 × 80 mm Green and purple Ministry of Finance and Revenue Chinthe November 1998 Value above watermark
Chinthe bust over value
150 × 70 mm Chinthe bust over value 11 October 2004 Value below watermark
Ks. 1,000/- 150 × 70 mm Blue Aung San Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) legislature buildings in Zeya Theddhi Ward of Naypyidaw Aung San bust over value 4 January 2020[33] Value above watermark
Ks. 5,000/- 150 × 70 mm Orange and pink White elephant Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (Assembly of the Union) legislature buildings in Zeya Theddhi Ward of Naypyidaw Elephant profile over value 1 October 2009[34] Value above watermark
Ks. 10,000/- [35] 150 × 70 mm Blue, red, purple, green, brown and yellow Modified State Seal of Myanmar (Features a lotus and a pair of elephant, instead of a star, a pair of Chinthe lion and the Armiger as in the Original State Seal) Mandalay Royal Palace Moat Lotus Flower profile over value 15 June 2012 Value above watermark
Ks. 20,000/- 150 × 70 mm Green and yellow White elephant Bridges over the Irrawaddy river at Mandalay
(back: Ava bridge; front: Yadanbon bridge)
Elephant profile over value 31 July 2023 Value above watermark

Foreign exchange certificates

In 1993, Myanmar began issuing foreign exchange certificates (FEC) denominated in US dollars in denominations of $1, $5, $10, and $20. These were exchanged on a parity ratio with and were valued separately from the regular kyat. Conversion of foreign currency into kyats was made illegal as exchange rates were set artificially high. During much of this period, two valuations of the Myanmar kyat emerged; The official rate which averaged around Ks. 6/- = US$1, and the black market rate which averaged tens of times higher. Foreign visitors to Myanmar could only transact currency in FEC's or could only obtain kyats at the artificially high official rates. Illegal peddlers often had to be sought out to exchange currency.

On 1 April 2012, the Government of Myanmar began allowing for a managed float of the kyat and legalised the use and exchange of foreign currencies in Myanmar to better reflect the global exchange rates, attract investment, and to weaken the black markets. On 20 March 2013, the government announced the discontinuation and gradual withdrawal of FEC's.

Redesign proposal

Following the removal of General Aung San's portraits from the banknotes of the Burmese kyat in 1987, there have been calls by both the public and opposition politicians to reinstate them, as well as criticizing the use of animals on banknotes in circulation. Writer Nyi Maung notes that foreign countries use portraits of their national leaders and heroes on their banknotes, such as Thailand, and encourages the reinstatement of General Aung San's portrait on the kyat to remember his legacy. In October 2017, a proposal was submitted by National League for Democracy MP Aung Khin Win to debate the issue in the Pyithu Hluttaw.[36]

While the Central Bank of Myanmar argues that the cost of reprinting new notes bearing the General's portrait would be monumental considering Myanmar's current economic situation, Aung Khin Win stated that new notes would only be reprinted to replace damaged notes or in the release of new denominations or size of kyat banknotes.[36]

The debate on this issue took place in the Pyithu Hluttaw on 17 November 2017. The proposal was wholly rejected by the military bloc, but it was passed with 286 votes for, and 109 against.[37]

2020 redesign

2020 redesign of the Myanmar Ks. 1,000/- note

On 21 December 2019, the Central Bank of Myanmar announced that in conjunction with the 72nd anniversary of Myanmar's independence, it would begin circulating Ks. 1,000/- notes bearing the portrait of General Aung San.[26] The bank notes were released to the public on 4 January 2020, marking the return of the national icon's image to the country's currency for the first time in thirty years.[38]

On 18 June 2020, the Central Bank of Myanmar announced that it would begin circulating Ks. 500/- notes bearing the portrait of General Aung San on 19 July 2020, in conjunction with the 73rd anniversary of Martyr's Day.[27]

Both the Ks. 500/- and Ks. 1,000/- banknotes bearing Aung San's portrait, are in concurrent circulation with the existing chinthe portrait bank notes, which will continue to remain in legal tender.

References

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