Fuel shortages in Myanmar lead to a scramble at petrol stations
On the morning of April 19th, a wave of panic hit Myanmar citizens as rumours of fuel shortages went viral on social media.
The rumours started following a supposed internal leak from those in the fuel import business, following the recent chokehold on the US dollar enforced by the Central Bank of Myanmar, allegedly restricting the ability to purchase imported fuel.
Shortly after the rumours began to spread, Shwe Byain Phyu, a local corporation, which had recently become well known for its acquisition of the business operations of Norway-based Telco Telenor, announced that its gas station operations will be limited.
The statement says that several of its fuel stations will be temporarily closed, to carry out maintenance activities, and that, after an unspecified amount of time for the maintenance, normal sales of fuel will resume.
Contrary to the statement, many believe that fuel businesses cannot afford to sell at the current, mostly static rate of 1850 MMK per US dollar, as enforced by the Central Bank, leading to the temporary closure of its businesses.
These events sent the public into a scramble to stock up on fuel, especially in Yangon and Mandalay, where the number of vehicles and the demand for fuel is much higher.
In Yangon, long queues at the fuel stations which chose to remain open could be seen causing traffic jams across the city.