A man carrying boxes of condensed milk on his shoulder crosses the street in front of Nyaung Pin Lay Market, Yangon. Photo: Ko Ko Htay/The Myanmar Times

 

The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) slashed interest rates by an additional 1 percent today (March 24), taking total rate cuts to 1.5pc within the span of two weeks.

Starting from April 1, bank deposit rates in Myanmar will be reduced a minimum of 6.5pc, while lending rates will not exceed 11.5pc for collateralised loans and 14.5pc for other unsecured loans, according to the CBM.

The move comes a day after Myanmar reported its first two positive COVID-19 cases. The CBM first cut rates by 0.5pc on March 13. Those rates became effective March 16. The World Health Organization defined the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 12.

From now until April 1, the minimum deposit rate will be 7.5pc, while lending rates will not exceed 12.5pc for collateralised loans and 15.5pc for loans with other guarantees.

The CBM’s easing of monetary policy comes after several garment factories in Myanmar were forced to shut down due to disruption in the raw material supply chain. As of last week, at least 20 out of the 500 factories in Myanmar had closed shop, leaving more than 10,000 potentially unemployed as a result of COVID-19.

U Than Lwin, senior consultant from Kanbawza Bank and former CBM official, commended the Central Bank’s quick response. “We need to monitor the market now to see if more adjustments are necessary to support the economy in the near future,” he said.

U Nay Lin Zin, a local trader, said a period of at least three months is needed before the impact of the reduced rates can be seen, after which further cuts could be necessary. – Translated

 

More detail: https://www.mmtimes.com/news/myanmar-central-bank-cuts-interest-rate-further-1.html