The official currency of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is the Burmese kyat. The currency uses the sign K, code MMK, and is subdivided into 100 pya.
History of the Burmese Kyat
Three versions of the Burmese kyat have existed. The first Burmese kyat was issued between 1852 and 1889. The currency was minted in gold and silver. One gold kyat could be exchanged for 16 silver kyats.
The second kyat existed between 1943 and 1945. During this time, Burma was occupied by the Japanese, who introduced a rupee-based currency. However, this currency was eventually replaced by a second Burmese kyat, which came in banknotes of all denominations. The new banknote was divided into 100 cents. However, after the end of World War II, the currency was useless, and the Burmese rupee was subsequently reintroduced.
The third and current Burmese kyat was issued in 1952. The Burmese kyat replaced the Burmese rupee at par value. The decimalization of the kyat led to further division of the kyat into 100 pya.
No paper money was issued for the first kyat. The earliest kyat banknotes were issued for the second kyat. In 1944, the Burma State Bank minted banknotes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 100 kyats. In 1952, a currency board was formed by the Union Bank. Its role was to take over the role of issuing the Burmese kyat. One key change the board made was the introduction of decimals. In 1958, the Union Bank of Burma issued banknotes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, and 100 kyats. Later, 20 and 50 kyat notes were introduced. In 1965, the Peoples Bank of Burma took over the role of issuing banknotes. After 1972, the role of issuing notes was assigned to the Union of Burma Bank. The Security Printing Works was in charge of printing the notes. In 1985, the 75 kyat note was introduced, and one year later the 15 and 35 kyat notes were introduced. In 1987, the 90 and 45 kyat notes were introduced. The country’s name changed from Burma to Myanmar in 1989. As a result, new notes were issued and circulated alongside the old notes to facilitate smooth transition.
Kyat coins were first introduced as result of the establishment of the Royal Mint in 1852. At first only silver coins were minted, but later gold, lead, copper, brass, tin and iron were also used to produce the coins. No coins were minted for the second kyat. In 1956, the third kyat series saw the issue of coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 pyas and 1 kyat. Over the years, the coins have been redesigned and new denominations have been minted. Pyas coins are no longer circulated in the Myanmar economy. The coins currently used in Myanmar are 5, 10, 50, and 100 kyats.