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Myanmar's Foreign Exchange Regulations – A Chronological Overview | Dentons

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Since declaration of the state of emergency on 1 February 2021, disruption in banking services, exchange rate fluctuations and limits imposed on cash withdrawals are some of the pressing issues to grapple with on the ground. There have been several official updates on foreign exchange regulations issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM).

A Chronological Overview

  • 3 April 2022: Conversion of foreign currency to Myanmar Kyats (MMK)
    • Under Directive 4/2022 and Notification 12/2022 issued by the CBM:
      • all foreign currency earned by Myanmar residents shall be deposited into banks holding authorized dealer licenses (AD banks) and converted into MMK within one working day of receipt;
      • AD banks have to convert foreign currency income received from abroad (trade or non-trade sources) into MMK within one working day at a specific conversion rate of 1,850 MMK per 1 United States Dollar (USD); and
      • outward transfers of foreign currency to abroad was subject to the approval of the Foreign Exchange Supervisory Committee (FESC).
  • 5 April 2022: Exemption from Directive 4/2022 and Notification 12/2022 and further guidance
    • Under Directives 5/2022 and 6/2022,
      • bank accounts operated by the Union Government and/or Ministries were exempt from the obligations set out in Directive 4/2022 and Notification 12/2022; and
      • guidance on the procedure in relation to conversion of foreign currency were given, which depended on the type of funds involved ie export income, loans from investments, income from services.
  • 20 April 2022: Exemptions from Notification 12/2022
    • CBM set out individuals and entities exempted from complying with Notification 12/2022.
    • AD banks were required to conduct Know Your Customer (KYC) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) processes before carrying out foreign currency transactions.
  • 26 April 2022: Further exemptions from Notification 12/2022
    • Under Directive 7/2022:
      • exporters and importers conducting trade at the China-Myanmar or Thailand-Myanmar border (collectively known as border trade programs) will not need to comply with Notification 12/2022;
      • the time limit to convert foreign currency (ie, THB-MMK or CNY-MMK) was extended from one working day to one month; and
      • designated banks may carry out payments in foreign currency for imports without seeking approval from the FESC.
  • 25 May 2022: Reminder on payment currency
    • CBM reminded the relevant authorities to instruct their subordinate organizations to make and receive payment in MMK for domestic purchase and sale of goods instead of in USD.
  • 2 June 2022: Logistics organizations permitted to reserve foreign currency
    • Certain logistics services organizations were permitted to reserve foreign currency up to a prescribed limit.
  • June 29, 2022: Limiting the scope of Notification 12/2022
    • Certain subject matters and organizations were exempted from Notification 12/2022.
  • 13 July 2022: Restrictions imposed on foreign loans and companies with at least 10% foreign ownership
    • AD banks were instructed to (a) suspend transactions for repayment of interest and principal of foreign loans obtained by domestic residents from abroad and (2) inform customers with foreign loans to structure a repayment schedule for the interest and principal with foreign lenders.
    • Companies having foreign ownership were no longer exempt from requirements under Notification 12/2022.
  • 15 July 2022: Compulsory conversion for companies with up to 35% foreign ownership
    • Compulsory conversion of foreign currency from foreign currency accounts of Myanmar companies with up to 35% foreign ownership.
  • 5 August 2022: Exporters only have to convert 65% of export earnings and MMK decreases in value
    • 65% of the export earnings were to be converted to MMK.
    • the exchange rate change was 2100 MMK: 1 USD (adjusted from 1850 MMK: 1 USD).
  • 10 August 2022: Foreign exchange trading band of +/- 0.3%
    • Foreign currency that is transferred from to or from a destination abroad must do so at a foreign exchange rate within a bandwidth of ± 0.3% from the CBM reference rate.
    • The above applied to AD banks, banks/companies with money changer license to sell, purchase or exchange foreign currency and companies with an offshore remittance license to transfer foreign currency.
  • 16 August 2022: Export earnings regulations
    • Exporters may use the remaining 35% of the export earnings for themselves, transfer them to persons other than AD licensed banks, or sell them to an AD licensed bank within 30 days of receipt. Otherwise, unused earnings shall be sold to an AD bank.
    • Companies, organizations or individuals who purchased export earnings may also use them for themselves or re-sell to AD banks within 30 days limit.
  • 29 August 2022: Exporters to bear more responsibility in relation to export fees
    • Exporters to pay for shipping and other export fees from the 35% of their export earnings.
  • 30 August 2022: Salary in foreign currency received overseas
    • Myanmar citizens abroad may freely use their foreign currency (outside Myanmar).


Amidst the current global economic contraction, Myanmar is not spared. Myanmar’s economy has taken a hit since the COVID-19 pandemic and the declaration of the state of emergency, which took place amidst the country’s battle against the pandemic. Business operations and investments into Myanmar have been adversely affected, and foreign direct investments have declined.

The fixed exchange rate is seen to be detrimental to exporters and foreign currency holders given that the market rate is higher (ie based on demand and supply, with demand for foreign currency being higher). Increased prices for transactions in MMK to cater for exchange rate losses and fluctuations, will worsen the existing inflation.

It is uncertain whether these regulations will persist in the long run. Observers are hopeful that the laws will be revised eventually for various reasons, including to resume business activities and attract investments into Myanmar. Myanmar’s banking sector will need to re-align when regulations change, to be able to support transactions.

In light of the current situation in Myanmar, there are many uncertainties and doubts that are present. Laws and regulations are developing rapidly and may be subject to further changes. Our in-country team has assisted our clients in understanding the regulations and policies in Myanmar.

Dentons Rodyk thanks and acknowledges Associate Hnin Htet Htet Naing, Legal Executive Suit Myat Htet and Intern Tricia for their contributions to this article.