Egypt banks asked to apply limit on daily withdrawals and deposits - GulfToday

Egypt banks asked to apply limit on daily withdrawals and deposits


The central bank has limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds.

Egyptian banks have been instructed to apply temporary limits on daily withdrawals and deposits in a move seemingly designed to control inflation and hoarding as concern grows over the spread of the coronavirus.

The daily limit for individuals would be 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($635) and 50,000 pounds for companies, a central bank statement said, though businesses will be exempt from the withdrawal limits if the money is used to pay employees.

The central bank has limited daily ATM withdrawals and deposits to 5,000 pounds, it said in a statement.

“Not official, but I heard (it was designed) to control hoarding and inflation,” said one analyst who asked not to be named. “This could reduce hoarding and panic buying and contain prices,” a second analyst said.

The central bank has also urged people to limit their use of banknotes and to rely on electronic transfers and e-payments.

“All banks cancelled fees on transfers and e-payment methods for the citizens’ convenience,” the statement added.

Egypt reported 40 new coronavirus cases and six fatalities on Saturday, bringing the totals to 576 confirmed infections and 36 deaths.

The Ministry of Islamic Endowments said on Sunday that it would extend the closure indefinitely.

Egypt reduced its GDP growth target for the current fiscal year 2019-20 to 5.1 per cent from 5.6 per cent, Planning Minister Hala Al-Saeed said, amid the coronavirus crisis.

The North African country also is targeting growth of 4.5 per cent in FY 2020-21 but it could dip to 3.5 per cent if the crisis lasts until mid-year, she added.

Inflation is expected to rise to 9.8 per cent if the coronavirus crisis continues until Dec. 2020, the middle of next FY, on the back of high demand on some products like medical supplies and detergents, she said after a cabinet meeting held by video conference.

The cabinet said in separate statement that it approved the draft law of the FY 2020-21 budget with expected deficit of 6.3 per cent. Egypt’s central bank tells commercial banks to cut interest on dollar deposits.

Egypt’s central bank has told commercial banks to cut interest on dollar deposits to 1 per cent above the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor) instead of 1.5 per cent above Libor, starting from Monday, six bankers told Reuters.

“The aim of the measure is to control the exchange market and reduce the expected dollarisation operations after cutting the interest rates,” a banker working at a state bank said.

Egypt’s central bank slashed its main interest rate by 300 basis points at an unscheduled meeting last week, saying it was making a “preemptive” move to support the economy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

A small black market in the Egyptian pound has re-emerged in the last few days as the coronavirus takes a toll on the country’s main sources of foreign currency, bankers and businessmen said.

Earlier this month Egypt said it aims to sell a minority stake in state-owned Banque du Caire in an initial public offering (IPO) starting mid-April in a sale worth about $500 million, provided investor interest holds up in the face of the coronavirus, its chairman said.


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