NICOSIA (Reuters) - Cyprus plans to complete a phasing out of all capital controls in January, its president Nicos Anastasiades was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The island became the first euro zone nation to slap restrictions on cash flows in March to prevent the collapse of its banking system amid turmoil caused by the terms of a 10 billion euro bailout from international lenders.
Controls are gradually being eased, but there is still a 300 euro cash withdrawal ceiling at banks daily, checks cannot be cashed and regulatory approval is required for large transactions.
“The controls are being lifted,” Anastasiades told news agency Bloomberg in an interview published on their website. “They will end within a timeframe of January 2014.”
International lenders and Cypriot financial authorities had already published a phased approach to easing controls in August, which did not give a clear timeframe but said there would be free movement of capital after the completion of banking mergers next year.
Under bailout conditions, authorities have to complete a series of mergers of co-operative lenders by March 2014.
The finance ministry had no comment other than to refer back to that roadmap.
Bank of Cyprus BOC.CY has only just come under control of new shareholders after large bank deposits were seized and converted to equity - a process known as a bail-in - to recapitalize that bank.
Writing by Michele Kambas; editing by Patrick Graham