IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Transition from black to official markets for foreign exchange in Myanmar


  • Kubo, Koji


We address the puzzle why the black market for foreign exchange thrives in Myanmar despite the successful unification of multiple exchange rates. A closer look at the black market reveals that its enduring competitiveness stems from its lower transaction costs. A question arising from this observation is how the official market, namely banks, can compete with and replace the black market. Our empirical analysis based on an original questionnaire survey of private export firms regarding their choices of currency trading modes suggests that banks can attract exporters by exploiting the economies of scope between currency trading and lending.

Suggested Citation

  • Kubo, Koji, 2015. "Transition from black to official markets for foreign exchange in Myanmar," IDE Discussion Papers 511, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper511

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: First version, 2015
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kiguel, Miguel & O'Connell, Stephen A, 1995. "Parallel Exchange Rates in Developing Countries," The World Bank Research Observer, World Bank, vol. 10(1), pages 21-52, February.
    2. Glassman, Debra, 1987. "Exchange rate risk and transactions costs: Evidence from bid-ask spreads," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 479-490, December.
    3. Huang, Haizhou & Wang, Shuilin, 2004. "Exchange rate regimes: China's experience and choices," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 336-342.
    4. International Monetary Fund, 2013. "Nicaragua: Staff Report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation," IMF Staff Country Reports 2013/377, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Melvin, Michael & Tan, Kok-Hui, 1996. "Foreign Exchange Market Bid-Ask Spreads and the Market Price of Social Unrest," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(2), pages 329-341, April.
    6. Phylaktis, Kate & Girardin, Eric, 2001. "Foreign exchange markets in transition economies: China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 215-235, February.
    7. International Monetary Fund, 2013. "Mexico: Staff Report for the 2013 Article IV Consultation," IMF Staff Country Reports 2013/334, International Monetary Fund.
    8. Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, 2004. "Foreign Exchange Market Organization in Selected Developing and Transition Economies: Evidence from a Survey," IMF Working Papers 2004/004, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Koji Kubo, 2013. "Myanmar's two decades of partial transition to a market economy: a negative legacy for the new government," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 357-370, September.
    10. Grosse, Robert, 1992. "Colombia's black market in foreign exchange," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 20(8), pages 1193-1207, August.
    11. Jeffrey A. Clark, 1988. "Economies of scale and scope at depository financial institutions: a review of the literature," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, vol. 73(Sep), pages 16-33.
    12. International Monetary Fund, 2012. "Myanmar: Staff Report for the 2011 Article IV Consultation," IMF Staff Country Reports 2012/104, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Mr. Marc G Quintyn & Mr. Bernard J Laurens & Mr. Hassanali Mehran & Mr. Tom Nordman, 1996. "Monetary and Exchange System Reforms in China: An Experiment in Gradualism," IMF Occasional Papers 1996/006, International Monetary Fund.
    14. Andreas Buehn & Stefan Eichler, 2011. "Trade Misinvoicing: The Dark Side of World Trade," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(8), pages 1263-1287, August.
    15. Agenor, Pierre-Richard & Haque, Nadeem U, 1996. "Macroeconomic Management with Informal Financial Markets," International Journal of Finance & Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 87-101, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kubo, Koji, 2014. "Deposit dollarization in Myanmar," IDE Discussion Papers 473, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
    2. Simone Auer & Emidio Cocozza & Andrea COlabella, 2016. "The financial systems in Russia and Turkey: recent developments and challenges," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 358, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Adekoya, Oluwasegun B. & Oliyide, Johnson A. & Tahir, Hammad, 2021. "What do we know about the inflation-hedging property of precious metals in Africa? The case of leading producers of the commodities," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C).
    4. Nadège Jassaud & Mr. Kenneth H Kang, 2015. "A Strategy for Developing a Market for Nonperforming Loans in Italy," IMF Working Papers 2015/024, International Monetary Fund.
    5. International Monetary Fund, 2014. "Colombia: Selected Issues Paper," IMF Staff Country Reports 2014/167, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Koji Kubo, 2013. "Real exchange rate appreciation, resource boom, and policy reform in Myanmar," Asian-Pacific Economic Literature, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, The Australian National University, vol. 27(1), pages 110-126, May.
    7. King, Michael R. & Osler, Carol L. & Rime, Dagfinn, 2013. "The market microstructure approach to foreign exchange: Looking back and looking forward," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 95-119.
    8. Richard Connolly & Christopher A. Hartwell, 2014. "Developments in the Economies of Member States Outside the Eurozone," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52, pages 202-218, November.
    9. Ali Kutan & Su Zhou, 1995. "Sociopolitical instability, volatility, and the bid-ask spread: Evidence from the free market for dollars in Poland," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 225-236, July.
    10. Gauvin, Ludovic & Rebillard, Cyril, 2013. "Towards Recoupling? Assessing the Impact of a Chinese Hard Landing on Commodity Exporters: Results from Conditional Forecast in a GVAR Model," MPRA Paper 65457, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. repec:ilo:ilowps:487305 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. World Bank, 2015. "The Gambia -- Policies to Foster Growth," World Bank Publications - Reports 22382, The World Bank Group.
    13. Ndoricimpa, Arcade & Osoro, Nehemiah & Kidane, Asmerom, 2016. "Threshold effects of inflation on economic growth in selected African regional economic communities: Evidence from a dynamic panel threshold modeling," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 41, pages 5-23.
    14. Shang-Jin Wei, 1991. "Anticipations of foreign exchange volatility and bid-ask spreads," International Finance Discussion Papers 409, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    15. Bollers, Elton & Pile, Dennis, 2015. "The Nexus between Remittances and Economic Growth: Empirical Evidence from Guyana," MPRA Paper 67756, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Zongxin Qian & Qian Luo, 2016. "Regime-Dependent Determinants of China’s Sovereign Credit Default Swap Spread," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 52(1), pages 10-21, January.
    17. Ding Ding & Mr. Werner Schule & Ms. Yan M Sun, 2014. "Cross-Country Experience in Reducing Net Foreign Liabilities: Lessons for New Zealand," IMF Working Papers 2014/062, International Monetary Fund.
    18. Ms. Chie Aoyagi & Alistair Munro, 2019. "Guilt, Gender, and Work-Life Balance in Japan: A Choice Experiment," IMF Working Papers 2019/261, International Monetary Fund.
    19. José Roberto Afonso & Eliane Cristina Araújo, 2014. "Institutions for Macro Stability in Brazil: Inflation Targets and Fiscal Responsibility," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp07, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    20. Meixing Dai, 2011. "Motivations and strategies for a real revaluation of the Yuan," Working Papers of BETA 2011-23, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    21. Ms. Edda Zoli & Hou Wang & Mr. Douglas Laxton, 2018. "A New Strategy for Korea’s Fiscal Policy in a Low Growth Environment," IMF Working Papers 2018/091, International Monetary Fund.

    More about this item


    Myanmar; Foreign exchange; Banks; Informal finance; Exports; Exchange rate unification; Black market for foreign exchange; Economies of scope in banking;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E26 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Informal Economy; Underground Economy
    • O24 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Trade Policy; Factor Movement; Foreign Exchange Policy
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper511. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michitaka Imamitsu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.