Egyptian pound

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Not to be confused with Pound sterling.
Egyptian pound
جنيه مصرى (Egyptian Spoken Arabic)
Kingtutcoinobv.jpg
Obverse of £1
ISO 4217 code EGP
Central bank Central Bank of Egypt
 Website www.cbe.org.eg
Official user(s)  Egypt
Unofficial user(s)  Gaza Strip (Palestinian territories), alongside Israeli new sheqel
Inflation 8.5% (2012 estimate)[1]
Subunit
 1/100 Piastre (قرش, Ersh)
 1/1,000 Millime (مليم,‎ Mallīm)
Symbol LE, EGP, E£ or ج.م
Piastre (قرش, Ersh) pt.
Coins 25pt, 50pt, £1
Banknotes £5, £10, £20, £50, £100, £200

The Egyptian pound (Arabic: جنيه مصرىGenēh Maṣri  Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [ɡeˈneː(h) ˈmɑsˤɾi] or in Alexandrian accent: Geni Maṣri  [ˈɡeni ˈmɑsˤɾi]) (sign: or ج.م; code: EGP) is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh (قرش  [ʔeɾʃ]; plural قروش  [ʔʊˈɾuːʃ]; German: Groschen), or 1,000 millimes (Arabic: مليم‎  [mælˈliːm]; French: Millime).

The ISO 4217 code is EGP. Locally, the abbreviation LE or L.E., which stands for livre égyptienne (French for Egyptian pound) is frequently used. and £E are rarely used. The name Genēh / Geni  [ɡeˈneː(h), ˈɡeni] is derived from the Guinea coin, which had almost the same value of 100 piastres at the end of the 19th century.

History[edit]

In 1834, a Khedival Decree was issued providing for the issuing of an Egyptian currency based on a bimetallic base, i.e.: based on gold and silver. The Egyptian pound, known as the geneih, was introduced, replacing the Egyptian piastre (ersh) as the chief unit of currency. The piastre continued to circulate as 1100 of a pound, with the piastre subdivided into 40 para. In 1885, the para ceased to be issued, and the piastre was divided into tenths (عشر القرش 'oshr el-ersh). These tenths were renamed milliemes (malleem) in 1916.

The legal exchange rates were fixed by force of law for important foreign currencies which became acceptable in the settlement of internal transactions. Eventually this led to Egypt using a de facto gold standard between 1885 and 1914, with E£1 = 7.4375 grams pure gold. At the outbreak of World War I, the Egyptian pound was pegged to the British pound sterling at EG£0.975 per GB£1.

The first E£1 banknote issued in 1899

Egypt remained part of the Sterling Area until 1962, when Egypt devalued slightly and switched to a peg to the United States dollar, at a rate of EG£1 = US$2.3. This peg was changed to 1 pound = 2.55555 dollars in 1973 when the dollar was devalued. The pound was itself devalued in 1978 to a peg of 1 pound = 1.42857 dollars (1 dollar = 0.7 pound). The pound floated in 1989; however, the float is tightly managed by the Central Bank of Egypt and foreign exchange controls are in effect.

The Egyptian pound was also used in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan between 1899 and 1956, and Cyrenaica when it was under British occupation and later an independent emirate between 1942 and 1951.

The National Bank of Egypt issued banknotes for the first time on 3 April 1899. The Central Bank of Egypt and the National Bank of Egypt were unified into the Central Bank of Egypt in 1961.

For a wider history surrounding currency in the region, see British currency in the Middle East.

Coins[edit]

Between 1834 and 1836, copper 1 and 5 para, silver 10 and 20 para, 1, 5, 10 and 20 piastre, gold 5, 10 and 20 piastre and 1 pound coins were introduced, with gold 50 piastre coins following in 1839. (1 Para = 140 Piastre).

Copper 10 para coins were introduced in 1853, although the silver coin continued to be issued. Copper 10 para coins were again introduced in 1862, followed by copper 4 para and 212 piastre coins in 1863. Gold 25 piastre coins were introduced in 1867.

In 1885, a new coinage was introduced consisting of bronze 14, 12, 1, 2 and 5 millieme, silver 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 piastre coins. The gold coinage practically ceased, with only small numbers of 5 and 10 piastre coins issued.

In 1916 and 1917, a new base metal coinage was introduced consisting of bronze 12 millieme and holed, cupro-nickel 1, 2, 5 and 10 millieme coins. Silver 2, 5, 10 and 20 piastre coins continued to be issued, and a gold 1 pound coin was reintroduced. Between 1922 and 1923, the gold coinage was extended to include 20 and 50 piastre and 1 and 5 pound coins. In 1924, bronze replaced cupro-nickel in the 1 millieme coin and the holes were removed from the other cupro-nickel coins. In 1938, bronze 5 and 10 millieme coins were introduced, followed in 1944 by silver, hexagonal 2 piastre coins.

Between 1954 and 1956, a new coinage was introduced, consisting of aluminium-bronze 1, 5 and 10 millieme and silver 5, 10 and 20 piastre coins, with the size of the silver coinage significantly reduced. An aluminium-bronze 2 millieme coin was introduced in 1962. In 1967 the silver coinage was abandoned and cupro-nickel 5 and 10 piastre coins were introduced.

Aluminium replaced aluminium-bronze in the 1, 5 and 10 millieme coins in 1972, followed by brass in the 5 and 10 millieme coins in 1973. Aluminium-bronze 2 piastre and cupro-nickel 20 piastre coins were introduced in 1980, followed by aluminium-bronze 1 and 5 piastre coins in 1984. In 1992, brass 5 and 10 piastre coins were introduced, followed by holed, cupro-nickel 25 piastre coins in 1993. The size of 5 piastre coins was reduced in 2004, 10 and 25 piastre coins - in 2008.

On June 1, 2006, 50 piastre and 1 pound coins with date 2005 were introduced, with the equivalent banknotes were phased out as of 2008 and completely disappeared of circulation in 2010. The coins bear the faces of Cleopatra VII and Tutankhamun, and the 1 pound coin is bimetallic. The size and composition of 50 piastre coins was reduced in 2007.


Coins in circulation[2]
Value Debut Image Specifications Description
Obverse Reverse Diameter (mm) Thickness (mm) Mass (g) Composition Obverse Reverse
5 pt * 1984 5qershObverse1984 5qershReverse1984 23 1.2 4.9 Copper 95% Aluminum 5% 3 pyramids of Giza
1992 21 1.1 3.2 Copper 92%
Aluminum 8%
Islamic pottery
2004/2008 17 1.04 2.4 Steel 94%
Nickel 2%
Copper plating 4%
10 pt * 1984 25 1.35 5.2 Copper 75% Nickel 25% Mosque of Muhammad Ali
1992 10 EPT obverse.JPG 10 EPT reverse.JPG 23 1.2 4.9 Copper 95% Aluminum 5%
2008 19 1.1 3.2 Steel 94%
Copper 2%
Nickel plating 4%
20 pt * 1984 27 1.4 6 Copper 75% Nickel 25%
1992 20 EPT reverse.JPG 25 1.35 5.2 Copper 95%
Aluminum 5%
Al-Azhar mosque
25 pt 1993 * 1.4
2008 21 1.26 4.5 Steel 94%
Copper 2%
Nickel plating 4%
50 pt 2005 50 Egyptian piastres obverse.JPG 50 Egyptian piastres reverse.jpg 25 1.58 6.5 Copper 75%
Zinc 20%
Nickel 5%
2007 23 1.7 Steel 94%
Nickel 2%
Copper plating 4%
£1 2005 100 EPT obverse.JPG 100 EPT reverse.JPG 25 1.89 8.5 Bimetal Tutankhamun's mask
Ring Centre
Copper 75%
Nickel 25%
Copper 75%
Zinc 20%
Nickel 5%
2007/2008 1.96 Steel 94%
Copper 2%
Nickel plating 4%
Steel 94%
Nickel 2%
Copper plating 4%

* Not in circulation as of 2008.

Banknotes[edit]

In 1899, the National Bank of Egypt introduced notes in denominations of 50 piasters, £1, £5, £10, £50 and £100 were introduced. Between 1916 and 1917, 25 piaster notes were added, together with government currency notes for 5 and 10 piasters. Issued intermittently, the 5 and 10 piasters are today produced by the Ministry of Finance.

In 1961, the Central Bank of Egypt took over from the National Bank and issued notes in denominations of 25 and 50 piasters, £1, £5, £10 and £20 notes were introduced in 1976, followed by £100 in 1978, £50 in 1993 and £200 in 2007.[3]

All Egyptian banknotes are bilingual, with Arabic texts and Arabic-Indic numerals on the obverse, and English texts and Arabic numerals on the reverse. Obverse designs tend to feature an Islamic building with reverse designs featuring Ancient Egyptian motifs (buildings, statues and inscriptions). During December 2006, it was mentioned in articles in Al Ahram and Al Akhbar newspapers that there were plans to introduce £200 and £500 notes. As of 2007, there are £200 notes circulating in Egypt and subsequently £500 notes will start circulating. As of the summer of 2009, £1 and 50 pt banknotes are being phased out, replaced by more extensive use of coins. Presumably 25 pt notes will be phased out as well.

Current Series
Image Value Dimensions (millimeters) Main color Description
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
5 EGP front.JPG 5 EGP back.JPG £5 145 × 70 Bluish-green Mosque of Ibn Tulun A Pharaonic engraving symbolizing the River Nile offering its bounties to the valley.
10 EGP front.JPG 10 EGP back.JPG £10 150 × 70 Pink Al Rifa'i Mosque Khafra
Egypt 20 Pound 2009 obverse.jpg Egypt 20 Pound 2009 reverse.jpg £20 155 × 70 Green Mosque of Muhammad Ali A Pharaonic war chariot
50 Pound Egypt obverse.jpg 50 pound Egypt obverse.jpg £50 160 × 70 Brownish-red Abu Huraiba Mosque Temple of Edfu
100 EGP obverse.JPG 100 Egyptian Pounds reverse.jpg £100 165 × 70 Purple Sultan Hassan Mosque Sphinx
200 pound Egypt obverse.jpg 200 Pound Egypt reverse.jpg £200 175 × 80 Olive Mosque of Qanybay El-Rammah The Seated Scribe

Popular denominations and nomenclature[edit]

Used for historical values or jocularly[edit]

Several unofficial popular names are used to refer to different values of Egyptian currency. These include (from the word nickel) nekla (نكلة) [ˈneklæ] for 2 milliemes, ta'rifa (تعريفة) [tæʕˈɾiːfæ] for 5 milliemes, shelen (شلن) [ˈʃelen] (i.e. a shilling) for 5 piastres, bariza (بريزة) [bæˈɾiːzæ] for 10 piastres, and reyal (ريال) [ɾeˈjæːl] ("real") for 20 piastres.

Used very informally[edit]

Different sums of EGP have special nicknames, for example: 1,000 EGP baku (باكو) [ˈbæːku] "pack"; 1,000,000 EGP arnab (أرنب) [ˈʔæɾnæb] "rabbit"; 1,000,000,000 EGP feel (فيل) [fiːl] "elephant".

Historical and current exchange rates[edit]

Pound sterling[edit]

This table shows the value of one British pound sterling in Egyptian pounds:

Date Official rate
1885 to 1949 E£0.975
2008 E£10.0775
2009 E£8.50
2012 E£9.68
2014 E£11.97 to E£12.03

US dollar[edit]

The historical value of one U.S. dollar in Egyptian pounds from 1885 to 2009

This table shows the historical value of 1.00 US dollar in Egyptian pounds:

Date Official rate
1789 to 1799 E£0.03
1800 to 1824 E£0.06
1825 to 1884 E£0.14
1885 to 1939 E£0.20
1940 to 1949 E£0.25
1950 to 1967 E£0.36
1968 to 1978 E£0.40
1979 to 1988 E£0.60
1989 E£0.83
1990 E£1.50
1991 E£3.00
1992 E£3.33
1993 to 1998 E£3.39
1999 E£3.40
2000 E£3.42 to E£3.75
2001 E£3.75 to E£4.50
2002 E£4.50 to E£4.62
2006 E£4.82 to E£6.25
2004 E£6.13 to E£6.28
2005 to 2006 E£5.75
2007 E£5.64 to E£5.5
2008 E£5.5 to E£5.29
2009 E£5.75
2010 E£5.80
2011 E£5.95
2012 E£6.36
2013 E£6.5 to E£6.96
2014 E£6.95 to E£7.15

Current EGP exchange rates

From Google Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR CNY TRY
From Yahoo! Finance: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR CNY TRY
From XE.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR CNY TRY
From OANDA.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR CNY TRY
From fxtop.com: AUD CAD CHF EUR GBP HKD JPY USD INR CNY TRY

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]