September 27, 2018 / 1:34 PM / 18 days ago

Greece eases capital controls, ends restrictions on cash withdrawals

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece will end restrictions on cash withdrawals from domestic bank accounts and increase the amount of money that can be transferred abroad as part of measures to ease capital controls imposed three years ago, the government said on Thursday.

A woman uses an ATM outside a National Bank branch in Athens, Greece, October 31, 2015. REUTERS/Michalis Karagiannis

The decision will go into effect on Oct. 1, the finance ministry said.

Athens first imposed capital controls in the summer of 2015, to stem a flight of cash from its banks at the height of a debt crisis which led to its third financial bailout since 2010.

“The decision is one more step on the roadmap towards a gradual lifting of restrictions ... on capital transfers,” the ministry said. “Authorities aim at the full lifting of restrictions as soon as possible.”

The decision lifts a previous 5,000 euro monthly limit on cash withdrawals from domestic bank accounts and ends restrictions.

It also raises the amount of cash that individuals can take with them outside the country to 10,000 euros per trip from 3,000 euros previously.

It also increased the daily limit of money transfers abroad by businesses to 100,000 euros from 40,000 previously. Such transactions can be processed at bank branches without the need for further permits.

The decision also allows the transfer abroad of profits and dividends on foreign capital invested in Greece - up to 100 percent of the invested amount.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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