CAIRO: Egypt’s central bank on Wednesday removed limits on international currency transfers, scrapping a $100,000 monthly limit on individual bank transactions in a long-awaited reform intended to lure back badly needed foreign investment. Egypt put in place strict controls on the movement of foreign currency after its 2011 political uprising in an effort to limit the flight of capital. As part of a three-year $12 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) lending program that began late last year, Egypt is obliged to end these controls, which still include a $50,000 per month deposit cap for importers of non-priority goods. “This decision comes as the central bank continues to take steps in the framework of economic reform which it began to implement last year and in order to strengthen confidence in the Egyptian economy,” a central bank statement said. “The lifting of controls also contributes to attracting more foreign investment inflows and deposits from Egyptians abroad, given their ability to re-transfer them outside the country without any restrictions,” it said.
The controls were imposed to crush a black market for dollars that had sucked foreign currency out of the formal banking system. Egypt let its currency float freely in November when it agreed to the IMF program and has seen it halve in value since effectively ending the black market for dollars. The central bank statement did not comment on the status of the $50,000 deposit cap for some importers.