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Myanmar pay rise rumour sends gold jumping

Written by: Staff
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YANGON, March 25, 2006 (Reuters) A rumour that Myanmar's military rulers will give civil servants a hefty pay rise has sent gold prices jumping, dealers said today.

One said the price of a 24-carat gold bar had soared from 383,000 per tical (0.525 of a troy ounce) from 340,000 since the rumour started last evening.

''We have now stopped selling gold bars, but we will keep selling gold jewellery at the fluctuating prices,'' said a leading dealer, who asked not be identified.

The rumour also sent the dollar up from under 1,150 kyat to 1,200, dealers said.

According to the rumour, civil servant salaries will leap tenfold on April 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year.

''Nothing is impossible in a society where logic does not work,'' said an economist, who asked not to be named.

''They increased fuel prices about 900 per cent last October and have been increasing dues, fees and charges one after another in the state-owned service sector since last year,'' he said.

Since April 1989, the military government has raised bureaucrat salaries three times, by 180 per cent, 26 per cent and 500 per cent.

REUTERS KD RN1553

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