Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Greece loosens capital controls to win back deposits
July 25, 2016
Greece’s central bank has loosened capital controls it imposed 13 months ago in the hope that depositors will return some of the cash they pulled from banks during last year’s panic.
George Chouliarakis, deputy finance minister, said he expected that lifting various restrictions on cash withdrawals would soon attract some €3-4bn in fresh deposits.
The controls were imposed in June last year to stem a run on Greek banks as the government’s negotiations with its international creditors foundered and many feared the country was poised to crash out of the euro. Among other measures, they set strict limits on how much money depositors could withdraw from their accounts each week.
Lifting the controls will pose a critical test of confidence in the leftwing Syriza-led government of Alexis Tsipras, the prime minister. Specifically, it will show whether Greeks now feel safe holding their cash in the country’s banks.