Egyptian pound

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Egyptian pound
جنيه مصرى (in Arabic)
EGP 200 Pounds Apr 2007 (Back).jpg
Obverse of £E200 banknote
ISO 4217
1100Piastre (قرش, "ersh")
11,000Millieme (مليم,‎ Mallīm)
Symbol£E, L.E., or ج.م
Piastre (قرش, "ersh")pt.
 Freq. used£E1, £E5, £E10, £E20, £E50, £E100, £E200
 Rarely used25pt., 50pt.
Coins25pt., 50pt., £E1
Official user(s) Egypt
Unofficial user(s) Gaza Strip[1]
Central bankCentral Bank of Egypt
Inflation5.86%[2] (2020)

The pound (Egyptian Arabic: جنيه مصرى Genēh Maṣri [ɡeˈneː(h) ˈmɑsˤɾi]; sign: £E,[3] or L.E. in Latin, ج.م in Arabic; ISO code: EGP) is the official currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh (قرش [ʔeɾʃ]; plural قروش [ʔʊˈɾuːʃ]),[2] or 1,000 milliemes (مليم  [mælˈliːm]; French: millième).

A contemporary £E1 coin.

In Latin script the Egyptian pound is often abbreviated to "LE" or "L.E." (livre égyptienne in French), "£E" is commonly used when the "£" sign is available. The Arabic name genēh [ɡeˈneː(h)] is derived from the guinea unit of account in sterling, which was close in value to 100 piastres at the end of the 19th century.


50 Egyptian pound promissory note issued and hand-signed by Gen. Gordon during the Siege of Khartoum (26 April 1884)[4]
50 Egyptian pound promissory note issued and hand-signed by Gen. Gordon during the Siege of Khartoum (26 April 1884)[4]
The first £E1 banknote issued in 1899

In 1834, a khedival decree was issued, adopting an Egyptian currency based on a bimetallic standard (gold and silver) on the basis of the Maria Theresa thaler, a popular trade coin in the region.[5] 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 £E1 = 7.4375 grams pure gold. At the outbreak of World War I, the Egyptian pound used a sterling peg at one pound and sixpence sterling to one Egyptian pound (£1 stg = £E0.975, or £E1 = £1/-/6 stg).

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 £E1 = US$2.3. This peg was changed to £E1 = US$2.55555 in 1973 when the dollar was devalued. The pound was itself devalued in 1978 to a peg of £1 stg = US$1.42857 (US$1 = £E0.7). The pound floated in 1989. However, until 2001, the float was tightly managed by the Central Bank of Egypt and foreign exchange controls were in effect. After exhausting all of its policies to support the Egyptian pound, the Central Bank of Egypt was forced to end the managed-float regime and allowed the pound to float freely on the 3rd of November 2016;[6] the bank also announced an end to foreign exchange controls that day.[7] The official rate fell twofold.

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. It also circulated in Mandatory Palestine from 1918 to 1927, when the Palestine pound was introduced, equal in value to sterling. 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.

Popular denominations and nomenclature[edit]

Used for historical values or jocularly[edit]

Several unofficial popular names are used to refer to different denominations 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. Since the piastre and millieme are no longer legal tender, the smallest denomination currently minted being the 25pt. coin (functioning as one-quarter of £E1), these terms have mostly fallen into disuse and survive as curios. A few have survived to refer to pounds: bariza now refers to the £E10 note and reyal can be used in reference to the £E20 note.[citation needed]


Different sums of the Egyptian pound have nicknames in vernacular speech, for example: £E1 Bolbol meaning nightingale or Gondi meaning soldier, £E1,000 bako (باكو) [ˈbæːko] "pack"; £E1,000,000 arnab (أرنب) [ˈʔæɾnæb] "rabbit"; £E1,000,000,000 feel (فيل) [fiːl] "elephant".


Between 1837 and 1900, copper 1 and 5 para, silver 10p. and 20p., 1pt., 5pt., 10pt. and 20pt. coins, gold 5pt., 10pt., 20pt. and £E1 coins were introduced, with gold 50pt. coins following in 1839.

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

In 1885, a new coinage was introduced consisting of bronze 14, 12, 1, 2 and 5 millieme, silver 1pt, 2pt, 5pt, 10pt and 20pt 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 1m., 2m., 5m. and 10m. coins. Silver 2pt., 5pt., 10pt. and 20pt. coins continued to be issued, and a gold £E1 coin was reintroduced. Between 1922 and 1923, the gold coinage was extended to include 20pt. and 50pt. and £1 and £E5 coins. In 1924, bronze replaced cupro-nickel in the 1m. coin and the holes were removed from the other cupro-nickel coins. In 1938, bronze 5m. and 10m. coins were introduced, followed in 1944 by silver, hexagonal 2pt. coins.

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

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

On June 1, 2006, 50pt. and £E1 coins dated 2005 were introduced, and its equivalent banknotes were temporarily phased out from circulation in 2010. The coins bear the face of Cleopatra VII and Tutankhamun's mask, and the 1 pound coin is bimetallic. The size and composition of 50pt. coins was reduced in 2007.

Coins in circulation[8][9]
Value Debut Image Specifications Description
Obverse Reverse Diameter (mm) Thickness (mm) Mass (g) Composition Obverse Reverse
5pt.** 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%
10pt.** 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%
20pt.** 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
25pt. 1993** 1.4
2008–2022 21 1.26 4.5 Steel 94%
Copper 2%
Nickel plating 4%
50pt. 2005 50 Egyptian piastres obverse.JPG 50 Egyptian piastres reverse.jpg 25 1.58 6.5 Copper 75%
Zinc 20%
Nickel 5%
2007–2021 23 1.7 Steel 94%
Nickel 2%
Copper plating 4%
£E1*** 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%
2007–2020 1.96 Steel 94%
Copper 2%
Nickel plating 4%
Steel 94%
Nickel 2%
Copper plating 4%

* 1 para = 140 piastre.

** Not in circulation as of 2008.

*** As to commemorate the branching of the Suez canal, the obverse had the Arabic phrase, قناة السويس الجديدة "New Suez Canal".


In 1899, the National Bank of Egypt introduced notes in denominations of 50pt., £E1, £E5, £E10, £E50 and £E100. Between 1916 and 1917, 25pt. notes were added, together with government currency notes for 5pt. and 10pt. Issued intermittently, the 5pt. and 10pt. 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 25pt. and 50pt., £E1, £E5 and £E10. £E20 notes were introduced in 1976, followed by £E100 in 1978, £E50 in 1993 and £E200 in 2007.[10]

All Egyptian banknotes are bilingual, with Arabic texts and Eastern Arabic numerals on the obverse, and English texts and Western 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 £E200 and £E500 notes. As of 2019, there are £E200 notes circulating but there are still no plans for printing £E500 notes.[11] Starting from 2011 the 25, 50 piastres and £E1 banknotes have been phased out and replaced by more extensive use of coins. As of June 2016 the National Bank of Egypt reintroduced the £E1 banknote into circulation[12] as well as the 25pt. and 50pt. notes in response to a shortage of small change.

The governor of the Central Bank of Egypt announced that the Central Bank of Egypt will issue polymer notes by the beginning of 2021. This change comes as the CBE moves its headquarters to the new administrative capital.[13] On July 31, 2021, the President of Egypt reviewed the notes of £E10 and £E20, to be issued in November 2021.[14] In August 2021, the Central Bank was forced to confirm that rainbow holograms on the new banknotes were a secure watermarking feature to prevent counterfeiting, after online critics suggested it was a covert message of support for LGBT rights.[15][16]

Current series of the Egyptian pound
Image Value Dimensions (millimeters) Main color Description Year of first issue
Obverse Reverse Obverse Reverse
EGP 25 Piastres 2008 (Front).png 25piastres reverse.jpg 25pt. 130 × 70 Blue Ayesha mosque Coat of arms of Egypt 1985
50 piastres obverse.jpg 50 piastres reverse.jpg 50pt. 135 × 70 Brown/yellow-green Al-Azhar Mosque Ramesses II 1985
1EGP-2001(5).png 1pound Egypt reverse.jpg £E1 140 × 70 Beige Mosque and mausoleum of Qaitbay Abu Simbel temples 1978
5EGP-2012.png 5EGP(2).png £E5 145 × 70 Bluish-green Mosque of Ibn Tulun A Pharaonic engraving of Hapi (god of the annual flooding of the Nile) offering bounties. 1981
EGP 10 Pounds 2003 (Front).png EGP 10 Pounds 2003 (Back).png £E10 150 × 70 Pink Al Rifa'i Mosque Khafre Enthroned 2003
Egypt 20 Pound 2009 obverse.jpg Egypt 20 Pound 2009 reverse.jpg £E20 155 × 70 Green Mosque of Muhammad Ali A Pharaonic war chariot and frieze from the chapel of Senusret I 1978
EGP 50 Pounds Dec 2001 (Front).jpg EGP 50 Pounds Dec 2001 (Back).jpg £E50 160 × 70 Brownish-red Abu Hurayba Mosque

(Qijmas al-Ishaqi Mosque)

Temple of Edfu 1993
EGP 100 Pounds 2009 (Front).jpg 100 EGP reverse 2014-1-26.jpg £E100 165 × 70 Cyan Sultan Hassan Mosque Great Sphinx of Giza 1994
EGP 200 Pounds Apr 2007 (Front).jpg EGP 200 Pounds Apr 2007 (Back).jpg £E200 165 × 72 Olive Mosque of Qani-Bay The Seated Scribe 2007

Historical and current exchange rates[edit]

Pound sterling[edit]

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

Date Official rate
1885 to 1949 £E0.975
2008 £E10.0775
2009 £E8.50
2012 £E9.68
2014 £E11.97 to £E12.03
2016 £E12.60 to £E21.21
2017 £E20.00
2020 £E19.53
2022 £E24.40

US dollar[edit]

The historical value of one U.S. dollar in Egyptian pounds from 1789 to 2020

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

Date Official rate
1789 to 1799 £E0.03
1800 to 1824 £E0.06
1825 to 1884 £E0.14
1885 to 1939 £E0.20
1940 to 1949 £E0.25
1950 to 1967 £E0.36
1968 to 1978 £E0.40
1979 to 1988 £E0.60
1989 £E0.83
1990 £E1.50
1991 £E3.00
1992 £E3.33
1993 to 1998 £E3.39
1999 £E3.40
2000 £E3.42 to £E3.75
2001 £E3.75 to £E4.50
2002 £E4.50 to £E4.62
2003 £E4.82 to £E6.25
2004 £E6.13 to £E6.28
2005 to 2006 £E5.75
2007 £E5.64 to £E5.5
2008 £E5.5 to £E5.29
2009 £E5.75
2010 £E5.80
2011 £E5.95
2012 £E6.36
2013 £E6.5 to £E6.96
2014 £E6.95 to £E7.15
2015 £E7.15 to £E11.00
2016 £E15.00 to £E18.00
2017 £E17.70 to £E17.83
2018 £E17.69 to £E17.89
2019 £E17.89 to £E15.99
2020 £E16.04 to £E15.79
2022 £E18.49 to £E18.49

See also[edit]

Current EGP exchange rates


  1. ^ Chami, Ralph; Espinoza, Raphael; Montiel, Peter J. (26 January 2021). Macroeconomic Policy in Fragile States. ISBN 978-0-19-885309-1.
  2. ^ a b Published by H. Plecher (2020-04-29). "• Egypt- Inflation rate 2021". Statista. Retrieved 2020-06-02.
  3. ^ As featured on an iconic £E1 banknote of 1930
  4. ^ Cuhaj, George S., ed. (2009). Standard Catalog of World Paper Money Specialized Issues (11 ed.). Krause. p. 1070. ISBN 978-1-4402-0450-0.
  5. ^ Markus A. Denzel (2010). Handbook of World Exchange Rates, 1590-1914. Ashgate Publishing. p. 599. ISBN 978-0-7546-0356-6. The piastre of 1839 contained 1.146 grammes of fine silver, the piastre of 1801 approximately 4.6 grammes of fine silver. The most important Egyptian coins, the bedidlik in gold (= 100 piastres; 7.487 grammes of fine gold) and the rial in silver (20 piastres; 23.294 grammes of fine silver)
  6. ^ Feteha, Ahmed; Shahine, Alaa (3 November 2016). "Egypt Free Floats Pound, Raises Lending Rates to Spur Economy". Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. ^ "CBE not to impose restrictions on foreign currency exchange". Egypt Independent. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Developments of Note Issue". 10 December 2004. Archived from the original on 10 December 2004. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  9. ^ "Coins from Egypt – Numista".
  10. ^ "Nach Thund". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  11. ^ ""المركزى": تراجع قيمة الجنيه لن يدفعنا لطرح ورقة نقدية من فئة 500 - اليوم السابع". 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2016-05-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Egypt to roll out new plastic currency starting 2021: Amer". Amwal Al Ghad. 2020-09-12. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  14. ^ "ننشر أول صور للعملات البلاستيكية الجديدة فئة 10 و20 جنيها". صدى البلد (in Arabic). 2021-08-01. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  15. ^ Powys Maurice, Emily (3 August 2021). "Bank of Egypt forced to confirm new rainbow note isn't for LGBT+ rights after backlash". PinkNews. Retrieved 3 August 2021.
  16. ^ "CBE confirms continued validity of all paper currencies". Egypt Independent. 3 August 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2021.

Devaluation Of Egyptian Pound Devaluation Status


External links[edit]