October 15, 2015 / 8:24 AM / 2 years ago

Zambia's central bank raises forex cash transaction limits

LUSAKA, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Zambia's central bank raised the foreign exchange transaction limits for companies and individuals holding accounts with commercial banks to encourage hard currency deposits, forex traders said.

Zambia's kwacha currency went into freefall in September as prices for its copper exports hit a one-month low. The southern African country faces external challenges including weak commodity prices, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said in the 2016 budget last week.

The limit of foreign exchange that companies holding accounts with commercial banks can buy or sell over the counter was raised to $100,000 from $5,000 per day, the central bank said in a circular to heads of commercial banks dated Oct 9.

Individuals holding accounts with commercial banks can now buy or sell up to $20,000 from $5,000 per day, it said.

"This has no effect on the kwacha but allows traders who deal in dollar cash to deposit more dollars per day," BancABC country head of Treasury John Mapiye told Reuters.

The limit for daily cash purchases and sales for non-account holders had been maintained at $1,000 while cash withdrawals and sales to account holders would also remain at $5,000 per day. (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia)

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