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Gas prices rise 30 percent in Myanmar for new year

January 1, 2012
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YANGON, Myanmar—Gas prices unexpectedly rose more than 30 percent for the new year in Myanmar and sparked fears of other goods costing more as well.

Motorists learned of the increase at the pump Sunday when prices increased from 2,500 kyat (3.15 dollars) to 3,350 kyat (4.2 dollars) per Imperial gallon (4.5 liters).

The government made no announcement. But with the fuel price hike, and a new 40 percent electricity cost increase announced late last year, people are concerned about inflation of consumer goods, too.

Myanmar's energy production is not enough to meet domestic demand, and it imports petrol and other fuels. The government subsidizes gas prices and rations it to two Imperial gallons (9 liters) a day.

An unannounced price hike in 2007 sparked anti-government protests that led to the "saffron rebellion." The military government then in power crushed it, leaving at least 15 dead and thousands arrested.

The nominally civilian government that took power early last year has made political changes that have improved its relationship with citizens.

(This version CORRECTS Corrects conversion of Imperial gallon to liter, from 4.2 to 4.5. This story is part of AP's general news and financial services.)

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