The Egyptian pound is the official tender in Egypt, divided in 100 piastras or 1000 millimes.
Origins and history
Prior to the introduction of gold and silver coins in Egypt, there was no such a national currency in the monetary basis of the country. Until that moment, only local currencies were coined. In 1834 a new legislation approved the introduction of a new currency based on a bimetallic system (silver and gold). Two years later, in 1836, the Egyptian pound was first coined and put into circulation.
Fluctuations in the value of silver and the adoption of the gold standard by most of countries trading with Egypt, specially the United Kingdom, caused the application of the gold standard also in Egypt, almost thirty years after the implementation of the bimetallic system. Following the economic crisis happened after the huge external debt of Egypt, in 1885 the law of monetary reform was adopted. According to this regulation, the gold standard became the basis for the monetary system in the country, which would have now a unified currency: the gold Egyptian pound. Ever since then, the bimetallic system was abandoned.
Afterwards, and as a consequence of the lack of coinage of new gold pounds, using certain currencies was allowed in the country, specially the sterling pound.
The golden currencies were still official until 1898 when the government created the National Bank of Egypt with the privilege of issuing Egyptian banknotes, payable in a period of 50 years. This bank started issuing banknotes for the first time on the 3rd April 1899.
Therefore, the currencies in circulation in Egypt were gold sterling pounds and Egyptian banknotes convertible to gold. This situation continued until 1914, when a special decree was approved to make the Egyptian pound banknote the basic monetary unit. The basis of the national monetary system was changed then into standard paper money.
The production of banknotes in different denominations by the Central Bank of Egyptian started in December 1968.
Considering the growing need of banknotes to ease transactions, which increased due to a stronger economic activity and the introduction of politics into the global economic scenario, the Central Bank of Egypt issued large denomination banknotes. In May 1979 the 20 pound denomination was launched.
Current Egyptian pound coins and banknotes
Currently, there are 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Egyptian pound banknotes in circulation.
Current system of currencies is 5, 10, 20, 25 and 50 piastras, and 1 Egyptian pound.
- Sometimes, it is shortened as LE or L.E., from the French libre égyptienne.
- There are two issuing countries: The Central Bank of Egypt and the government of the country, both official and in free circulation.
- The first watermark created to avoid counterfeit in Egyptian pounds was implemented as early as 1930.