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Myanmar Junta Reaps Millions In Gem Sales As Economy Crumbles

BANGKOK/YANGON — Fresh economic data from private research groups suggest that Myanmar’s economy is deteriorating more sharply than feared after the Feb. 1 coup, with heightened risks of soaring inflation, collapsing trade and increased poverty.

At the same time, recent days have seen a remarkable display of the military’s grasp on Myanmar’s natural resources, with a multi-million dollar, 10-day auction of gems, jade and pearls in the capital, Naypyitaw.

In daily reports, state-run media said revenue from sales of gems, pearls and jade in the current auction, which ends Saturday, had amounted to between $1 million to $6.4 million per day. On Thursday, for example, takings of jade sales alone reportedly amounted to 9.2 billion kyat ($6.4 million). Read more…..

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