Cyprus to lift currency controls by spring

Cyprus expects to lift almost all currency controls early next year, although restrictions will remain on individuals shifting funds out of the country, Finance Minister Haris Georgiades (photo) said on Monday.

Separately, Central Bank Governor Panicos Demetriades said the island’s banks were likely to make further losses in 2014 as the economy worsens and nonperforming loans rise, but that the sector has enough capital to cope.

Cyprus imposed currency controls in March – a first for the eurozone – to prevent a bank run after savers were forced by the country’s international bailout to recapitalize a major lender with their own funds and a second bank was closed down.

Georgiades told Parliament’s finance committee that based on a road map for the restructuring of the Cypriot banking system, most controls would be lifted “before the spring” of 2014.