Cyprus eases controls on capital outflows

NICOSIA – Cyprus eased controls on capital outflows on Friday, in another step toward scrapping draconian measures imposed last year to avoid a run on banks.

Businesses will now be allowed to transfer up to 2 million euros abroad per transaction without approval, up from 1 million euros previously, the Finance Ministry said. Transactions exceeding 2 million euros will require approval.

Individuals will be able to transfer 10,000 euros out of the country each month, double the previous figure. And those traveling abroad can now carry twice as much cash with them – 6,000 euros – per journey.

The authorities closed the banks for two weeks in spring 2013 as they put the final touches on a 10-billion-euro bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

They imposed a raft of measures on domestic and international capital movements when the banks reopened.

All domestic capital restrictions were lifted in May, a prohibition on opening bank accounts being the last one.

Cyprus aims to abolish all remaining controls when there is sufficient progress on its bailout program, investor confidence is fully restored and the banking system stabilized.