The Egyptian Pound is the official currency of Egypt. Unlike most other currencies, the name of the country is included in the name of the currency. The Egyptian Pound is often abbreviated LE or L.E., which is an abbreviation for Livre Egyptienne, the French translation of Egyptian Pound. The Egyptian Pound is a decimal currency that is divided into 100 qirsh and 1000 milliemes, although milliemes are no longer circulated. In English, the qirsh is often referred to as a piastre.
The Egyptian Pound was introduced in 1834 during the period when Egypt was a British colony. A royal decree prompted Parliament to call for the issuing of a new currency to be based on a bi-metallic standard. The Egyptian Pound unequivocally replaced the Egyptian piastre in 1885, when the piastre subunit, the para, was no longer issued. In the first years after the Egyptian Pound was introduced, it maintained a fixed exchange rate with many of the world’s most important currencies. In 1885, the Egyptian Pound was set on the gold standard at 1 Egyptian Pound to 7.4375 grams of pure gold. However, when World War I began, the Egyptian Pound was pegged to the pound sterling at 0.975 EGP: 1 GBP. After this, a peg to the pound sterling was maintained as part of the sterling area until 1962, after which the Egyptian Pound was pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of 1 EGP: 2.3 USD. In the 1970s, the Egyptian Pound steadily devalued until it was put on a managed float system in 1989.
The Egyptian Pound is issued by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), which was established to replace the National Bank of Egypt in 1961. The CBE is an autonomous national entity whose powers expanded greatly between 2003 and 2004. The CBE’s funds are considered private funds and consist of 1 billion LE in paid-up capital. The main functions of the CBE are to create price stability and a sound banking system by setting monetary and credit policies. The CBE also manages the liquidity of the national economy, manages foreign reserves and manages the foreign exchange.
Egyptian Pounds are circulated through a series of coins and banknotes. Coins are currently circulated in the following denominations: 5, 10, 20, 25 piastres and 1 Egyptian Pound. Banknotes include denominations of 25 and 50 piastres and 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Egyptian Pounds.