£ or جم
The Egyptian pound ( ' ; sign: E£, L.E. ج.م; code: EGP''') is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 piastres, or ersh (plural قروش ), or 1,000 milliemes (millième).
The Egyptian pound is frequently abbreviated as LE or L.E., which stands for livre égyptienne (French for Egyptian pound). E£ and £E are commonly used on the internet. The name is derived from the Guinea coin, which had almost the same value of 100 piastres at the end of the 19th century.
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. 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 1⁄100 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.
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, until 2001, the float was tightly managed by the Central Bank of Egypt and foreign exchange controls were in effect. The Central Bank of Egypt voted to end the managed-float regime and allowed the pound to float freely on 3 November 2016; the bank also announced an end to foreign exchange controls that day. 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. 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.
Several unofficial popular names are used to refer to different values of Egyptian currency. These include (from the word nickel) nekla (نكلة) for 2 milliemes, ta'rifa (تعريفة) for 5 milliemes, shelen (شلن) (i.e. a shilling) for 5 piastres, bariza (بريزة) for 10 piastres, and reyal (ريال ) ("real") for 20 piastres. Since the piastre and millieme are no longer legal tender, the smallest denomination currently minted being the 25-piastre coin (functioning as one-quarter of one pound), these terms have mostly fallen into disuse and survive as curios. A few have survived to refer to pounds: bariza now refers to a ten-pound note and reyal can be used in reference to a 20-pound note.
Different sums of EGP have special nicknames, for example: 1 EGP Bolbol meaning nightingale or Gondi meaning soldier, 1,000 EGP baku (باكو) "pack"; 1,000,000 EGP arnab (أرنب) "rabbit"; 1,000,000,000 EGP feel (فيل) "elephant".