Egypt's central bank ends foreign currency caps on individuals

Ahram Online , Tuesday 8 Mar 2016

People and vehicles are seen caught in a traffic jam in front of the Central Bank of Egypt's headquarters in downtown Cairo (Reuters)

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) lifted the monthly cap on dollar deposits and withdrawal by individuals, it said in a press release on Tuesday.

The CBE had imposed last year limits on foreign currency deposits of $50,000 per month and $10,000 daily, in an attempt to eradicate a foreign currency black market and tackle the country's foreign exchange crisis.

Restrictions remain valid on companies, the statement read.

Companies importing staple commodities, production machinery, manufacturing components, and pharmaceuticals can deposit up to $250,000 a month, as an exception aimed at facilitating these imports.

Exporting companies have also been allowed since last month to deposit one million US dollars, or equivalent of foreign currencies, monthly at local lenders.

On Sunday, the CBE sold $551 million to banks in an exceptional foreign exchange auction that was held earlier on Sunday at EGP 7.73 to the dollar “to clear all imports backlog,” a CBE official told Ahram Online.

Foreign currency reserves stabilised at $16.534 billion at the end of February, under half their level on the eve of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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