Egypt central bank scraps FX restrictions for importers


CAIRO: Egypt’s central bank has removed caps for the deposit and withdrawal of foreign currency for importers of non-essential goods, it said on Tuesday, the latest sign of improving dollar liquidity at banks.

The central bank in 2012 implemented a deposit limit of $10,000 per day and $50,000 per month as well as a $30,000 per day withdrawal limit for importers of non-essential goods.
The control was one of several imposed since 2011, when a political uprising drove away tourists and foreign investors, key sources of foreign currency, forcing importers to rely on a more expensive black market for dollars.

Dollar liquidity at banks has improved over the past year, however, since Egypt agreed a $12 billion three-year-international lending program tied to tough economic reforms and floated its currency, roughly halving it in value since and helping crush the dollar black market.

The cap on deposits and withdrawals for non-essential importers was among the final foreign currency restrictions still in place since Egypt’s currency crisis began and its removal was among the reforms agreed to as part of the IMF lending ­program.

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