Greek Banks Reopen With Limits Still In Place

Jul 20, 2015

Greek banks reopened Monday for the first time in three weeks, but weary Greeks were also greeted by higher prices on basic goods.

Joanna Kakissis, who is reporting for NPR from Athens, told Morning Edition Monday that cash withdrawals are limited to just under $70, "but in a slight relaxing of the rules people can now take a week's worth of euros at a time instead of standing in line every day."

Capital controls are expected to stay in place for at least the next few weeks.

The reopening of the banks came after the European Central Bank provided another lifeline to Greek financial institutions. Greece also received a loan from the European Union, which allowed it to repay some of the money it owes the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF, the ECB and the EU are Greece's three main creditors.

In exchange for the EU's money, Greece agreed to raise sales taxes on many basic goods, including bread and meat. As Joanna tells our Newscast unit, the increased sales tax is between 13 and 23 percent.

Greece owes its creditors about $330 billion, an amount that has been estimated to be 177 percent of the country's gross domestic product. The Wall Street Journal has an excellent interactive that explains what Greece owes its creditors and when payments are due.

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