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Cyprus banks to reopen Thursday


Nicosia, CYPRUS: Two men walk past a Bank of Cyprus branch on Nicosia's Makarios main thoroughfare.



Cyprus banks are set to reopen Thursday after they were closed to prevent a bank run while a controversial bailout was negotiated.

Doors will open between noon and 6 p.m. local time, with customers limited to withdrawing 300 euros ($383) a day to prevent them from leaving with their savings.

"I am telling you that all banks are definitely going to open tomorrow," the Cypriot central bank's Aliki Stylianou said, after several false announcements of when bank customers will be able to access their funds.

Cyprus banks have been closed since March 16 when the European Union made a plan to force losses on depositors in exchange for a 10 billion-euro bailout. Parliament rejected the idea, but a second agreement shuts Cyprus Popular Bank and imposes larger losses on uninsured depositors.

Cyprus Finance Minister Michalis Sarris has now announced a series of capital controls, including the 300-euro-per-day withdrawal limit, as well as barring checks from being cashed.

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He said the "lack of substantial liquidity and significant risk of deposits outflow, with possible outcome the collapse of the credit institutions" as the reasons for the restrictions.

Depositors with more than 100,000 euros could have 40 percent of their funds converted into bank shares, while customers with less than 100,000 euros will lose nothing.