Kaowao News Service, Bangkok

June 19, 2011
Burmese villagers struggle to make ends meet as an increasingly stronger Burmese kyat results in less money to live on when exchanged from an ever weakening foreign currency sent to them by their families working abroad, Kaowao has learned.

migrant worker in Thailand

Burmese migrant worker in Thailand

Burmese migrant workers living in Thailand and abroad are resisting sending their money home to Burma due to the rise of the Burmese kyat against the US and Thai currencies.

According to Burmese money exchange trader, Chan Ong in Bangkok, the Burmese kyat is valued at K 26.75 to the Thai baht and K 780 to one US dollar.

Ong says his business is declining since most of his Burmese clients are holding out for a better rate instead of sending their earnings back home.

“The Burmese kyat was worse last week, but it bounced back a little yesterday.  It’s been like this since the collapse of the world economy three years ago,” said Nai Myint Shwe, another businessman who lives in Samut Sakhorn, a central Thai province.

There are approximately one million Burmese migrant workers in the Kingdom of Thailand employed in the 3D jobs, with approximately 200,000 working in the Thai central provinces of Samut Sakhorn and Samut Songkhram, where most are employed in the fishing and prawn export industries located near the Gulf of Thailand.

Burmese migrant workers remit a large proportion of their earnings back home to Burma, vital for their families’ survival, which in turn, boasts the local economy.

“Even though the current rate was only K 750 to one US dollar, I sent it to my parents who need it desperately back home,” said Mi Mi Win, who works in Canada.

Commodity prices in Burma have risen since the collapse of the world economy and without remittances from their families living abroad, many Burmese will face difficult times in making ends meet.


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