Egypt eases rules on taking currency in and out of the country

Egypt said on Wednesday it was easing limits on travelers bringing currency in and out of the country and said visiting foreigners could now export more than $10,000 as long as they declared it upon entering.

Egypt tightened currency controls in December, worried over pressure on the pound and a rush by Egyptians to withdraw their savings from banks.

It had prevented all travelers – Egyptian and foreign – from bringing in or taking out foreign currency that exceeded $10,000. On Wednesday it eased some of the restrictions.

“Bringing foreign currency into the country is allowed for all travelers as long as they declare it in a document provided for this purpose if the amount exceeds $10,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency,” a government statement said.

“Foreigners are allowed to, when leaving the country, carry what is left of the amounts that they declared upon arrival if the amount exceeds $10,000 or its equivalent in foreign currency.”

After two years of political instability since the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is taking steps to lower its budget deficit and secure a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund.

Foreign currency reserves fell to $13.5 billion at the end of February from $36 billion just before the uprising.

The turmoil has driven away tourists and foreign investors. Analysts say Egypt should tap emergency IMF funding to prevent a full-blown economic crisis but the cabinet rejected that idea on Tuesday.

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