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Egypt tightens money transfers

A presidential decree sets a limit of $10,000 or its equivalent for travelers to bring in or out of Egypt

Ahram Online, Tuesday 25 Dec 2012
U.S dollars transfer
Holding steady: Egypt's central bank says latest currency figure is encouraging (Photo: Reuters)
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Travelers to and from Egypt will not be allowed to carry more than $10,000 or its equivalent on them as Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi modified banking regulations on Tuesday in order to tighten foreign currency transfers from and to Egypt.

The new presidential decree published in the official newspaper applies to foreigners and Egyptians alike, and includes foreign currencies as well as local.

Furthermore, the president prohibited the entry or exit of foreign currencies via postal consignments and parcels. The original law prohibited only the sending or receiving of Egyptian banknotes (not foreign currencies) via postal consignments and parcels.

The decision was taken to limit demand on dollars as International Reserves significantly decreased since the revolution. Egypt's net International Reserves lost almost 60 per cent of their value between January 2011 and November to reach some $15 billion.

Foreign direct investment and tourism revenue - two of Egypt's main sources of foreign currency - plummeted since the revolution.

For the first time in eight years, the US Dollar exchange rate exceeded the 6.1 threshold, trading at 6.15 for the Egyptian pound in December.

Experts expect a further devaluation of the Egyptian currency. Egypt's largest investment bank, EFG-Hermes, expects the dollar to hike to some LE6.60 next year.

Before this latest modification, the Banking Sector and Money Law issued in 2003 did not fix a maximum for money transfers. It only specified that the traveler must inform authorities when the amount of money being transferred exceeds $10,000.

"All travelers can enter or exit with foreign currencies, providing they declare the amount on entry or exit if it exceeds ten thousand US dollars, or their equivalent in foreign currencies," read the original law.

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