With the Indian rupee dropping, money traders on the Burma-India border in Chin State have been put out of work.
“All exporters have stopped doing business at the border. We can’t operate with the current exchange rates,” Awmtea, a business person from Rihhkawdar, told Khonumthung News.
The rupee used to be 19:1 against the kyat but now it’s only 15:1. The devaluation has killed imports from Burma to India and put exporters from Burma out of business. Since last week, no money traders were working on the border.
Cash transfer companies operating between India’s Mizoram State and Kalay in Sagaing have also been affected.
“We’ve already stopped our business because the currency exchange rate dropped so much. I don’t know why it’s so low; I don’t even know what the exchange rate is right now,” said a businessperson in the money transfer industry.
Nobody knows exactly why the rupee has fallen so quickly but Awmtea speculates it’s related to the Covid-19 outbreak that is causing the global economy to slow down.
Since Covid-19 was officially announced at the end of 2019 there have been 109,577 confirmed cases and 3,809 deaths as of March 9, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of cases are in China’s Hubei, where the virus is believed to have originated. After many areas of China were quarantined there has been a reduction of new cases, according to the Chinese government and recent report by WHO.
The Manipuri government recently shut down the Tamu to Moreh border gate and expected to close the Rih to Zohkawhtar border soon. Most Chin traders use the Rih to Zohkawhtar border to export local and Thai products to Manipur State.