Greece eases capital controls for students and payments

ATHENS (REUTERS) - Greeks can now transfer up to 500 euros abroad and pay more towards tuition fees under a new incremental easing of capital controls imposed in June to prevent an implosion of the country's banking system.

Under a ministerial decree issued in the Official Gazette, bank accounts can be opened for debt repayments, while up to 8,000 euros (S$12,500) for student tuition and living expenses paid abroad are allowed per academic quarter.

However, individuals can still withdraw only 420 euros in cash from their bank accounts a week.

The decree, published on Monday, also said bank transactions related, among others, to foreign exchange spot transactions, interbank lending, derivatives trading, rollovers and transactions which did not materially change the liquidity of the credit institution were permitted, and prior authorisation was not required.

Greece imposed capital controls and ordered banks to shut temporarily on June 29, after the European Central Bank had refused to increase emergency funding to the lenders following a breakdown of bailout talks between Athens and foreign creditors.

A bailout deal worth up to 86 billion euros has since been sealed and banks have reopened, but with a limited scope of activity.

The country has been gradually easing the capital controls since July when raised it limits on business payments abroad to 150,000 euros from 50,000.