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apple developer account(buyappleacc.com):They wait hours to withdraw cash, but most ATMs are empty

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YANGON — The customers, desperate for cash, began lining up at the ATM at 3.30am. By dawn, the queue had swelled to more than 300 people. By noon, when temperatures had reached 37.8°C, many were still waiting, hoping this would be the day they could finally withdraw money from their own bank accounts.

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Since the military seized power in a coup six months ago, Myanmar has been crippled by a cash shortage. To help prevent a run on the banks, randomly selected ATMs are stocked with cash daily, and withdrawals are capped at the equivalent of US$120 (S$163).

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The economic fallout has had sweeping consequences. With cash in short supply, depositors cannot withdraw their savings, customers cannot pay businesses, and businesses cannot pay their workers or creditors. Loans and debts go uncollected. The value of the kyat, Myanmar’s currency, has tumbled 20 per cent against the dollar.

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Fewer than 100 ATMs now have cash each day across the Southeast Asian nation. Currency hoarding has become widespread, and many businesses will accept only cash, not digital bank transfers.

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A new breed of currency brokers has sprung up to provide cash in exchange for online transfers at a cost of seven to 15 per cent. In effect, Myanmar now has two values for its money: A higher value for cash and a lower value for online funds. Experts warn that the country is plunging into a full-blown financial crisis.

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“At the moment, everything is frozen,” said Mr Richard Horsey, a senior adviser on Myanmar for the International Crisis Group. “This is a deep, deep economic crisis. It’s a confidence issue — confidence in the regime, the banks and the economy.”

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Myanmar’s economy began to expand about a decade ago, when the generals relaxed their grip on the country after nearly 50 years of military rule. That progress has quickly been undone by the military’s return to power in February.

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Confidence in the government and private banks has evaporated with the coup and the killing of at least 945 people, most of them shot by soldiers during demonstrations.

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An anti-coup protest movement and general strike have paralysed much of the economy, including closing nearly all of the country’s bank branches in the first months after the military takeover. Missteps by the junta, such as restricting online payments, have contributed to the crisis.

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In mid-March, the regime tried to stifle the civil disobedience movement by shutting down the mobile internet. But this blocked cellphone bank transfers, a popular — and cashless — way of making payments.

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“When banks were closed, there was a general fear of not being able to get cash,” said Ms Vicky Bowman, director of the nonprofit Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business and a former ambassador to Myanmar from Britain. “Then the government made it worse by turning off the mobile internet. That further increased the desire to have cash.”

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The account holders at the Kanbawza Bank branch in Mandalay made a lucky guess when they lined up before dawn. Workers arrived late that morning and loaded the machine with kyat. The first 38 people in line got money. When Ms Ma May Thway Chel, the 39th customer, reached the ATM, it had run out.

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