Malaysia limits cash transfers to 25,000 ringgit, Thailand relaxes limits for money outflows

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Malaysia will impose a cash transaction limit of 25,000 ringgit ($6,062) from the beginning of next year on all domestic transactions involving physical cash payments, including payments of goods and services, donations and transfers between individuals, businesses and other entities.

The move comes as a bid to “strengthen the country’s financial integrity” and to “address the abuse of physical cash used for illicit activities,” Malaysia’s central bank deputy governor and chairman of the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money Laundering, Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, said at a media briefing on November 7 in Kuala Lumpur.

Industries that may be impacted most by the new limits are such that deal with large cash transactions, such as medical tourism, hotels and wholesale, he added.

However, the regulation comes with exemptions. Any cash transactions to or with financial institutions does not fall under the limit because as regulated entities, these institutions are already subjected to stringent anti-money laundering or counter-terrorism financing requirements. Furthermore, cash transactions for purposes such as humanitarian aid will also be exempted, subject to approval by the finance ministry.

Thailand eases money outflow restrictions

Meanwhile, Thailand is easing restrictions for businesses and individuals to bring money out of the country in a step aimed at curbing the strength of the Thai baht.

According to a central bank note from November 6, individuals who want to transfer funds to relocate abroad or send money to relatives abroad shall be able to do so freely. Those who want to purchase real estate abroad shall be allowed to do so up to $50 million per year as previously, but the property can now be in the name of a family member rather than their own name.

Documentation shall no longer need to be provided to commercial banks when conducting outward transfers of less than $200,000. This is an increase from the current $50,000 threshold.

However, a few specific purposes are exempt, such as the settlement of foreign exchange or baht transactions with financial institutions abroad.

Retail investors will be allowed to invest up to $200,000 per year in foreign securities without having to invest via a Thai intermediary. Previously, they would need to meet specified criteria in terms of asset ownership in order to invest directly.

Another measure is that Thai investors shall be allowed to trade gold in foreign currencies through foreign currency deposit accounts opened with onshore commercial banks, provided they deal with designated gold trading companies that have received approval from the central bank.

The central bank has also agreed to higher limits for exporters and traders. The central bank will now allow exporters to keep foreign currency proceeds below $200,000 per bill overseas without a time limit, a relaxation from the current $50,000 threshold. This should help businesses reduce fund transfer costs and manage foreign exchange risks more efficiently.

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Malaysia will impose a cash transaction limit of 25,000 ringgit ($6,062) from the beginning of next year on all domestic transactions involving physical cash payments, including payments of goods and services, donations and transfers between individuals, businesses and other entities. The move comes as a bid to “strengthen the country's financial integrity” and to “address the abuse of physical cash used for illicit activities,” Malaysia’s central bank deputy governor and chairman of the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money Laundering, Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, said at a media briefing on November 7 in Kuala Lumpur. Industries that may be impacted most...

Auto Draft

Malaysia will impose a cash transaction limit of 25,000 ringgit ($6,062) from the beginning of next year on all domestic transactions involving physical cash payments, including payments of goods and services, donations and transfers between individuals, businesses and other entities.

The move comes as a bid to “strengthen the country’s financial integrity” and to “address the abuse of physical cash used for illicit activities,” Malaysia’s central bank deputy governor and chairman of the National Coordination Committee to Counter Money Laundering, Abdul Rasheed Ghaffour, said at a media briefing on November 7 in Kuala Lumpur.

Industries that may be impacted most by the new limits are such that deal with large cash transactions, such as medical tourism, hotels and wholesale, he added.

However, the regulation comes with exemptions. Any cash transactions to or with financial institutions does not fall under the limit because as regulated entities, these institutions are already subjected to stringent anti-money laundering or counter-terrorism financing requirements. Furthermore, cash transactions for purposes such as humanitarian aid will also be exempted, subject to approval by the finance ministry.

Thailand eases money outflow restrictions

Meanwhile, Thailand is easing restrictions for businesses and individuals to bring money out of the country in a step aimed at curbing the strength of the Thai baht.

According to a central bank note from November 6, individuals who want to transfer funds to relocate abroad or send money to relatives abroad shall be able to do so freely. Those who want to purchase real estate abroad shall be allowed to do so up to $50 million per year as previously, but the property can now be in the name of a family member rather than their own name.

Documentation shall no longer need to be provided to commercial banks when conducting outward transfers of less than $200,000. This is an increase from the current $50,000 threshold.

However, a few specific purposes are exempt, such as the settlement of foreign exchange or baht transactions with financial institutions abroad.

Retail investors will be allowed to invest up to $200,000 per year in foreign securities without having to invest via a Thai intermediary. Previously, they would need to meet specified criteria in terms of asset ownership in order to invest directly.

Another measure is that Thai investors shall be allowed to trade gold in foreign currencies through foreign currency deposit accounts opened with onshore commercial banks, provided they deal with designated gold trading companies that have received approval from the central bank.

The central bank has also agreed to higher limits for exporters and traders. The central bank will now allow exporters to keep foreign currency proceeds below $200,000 per bill overseas without a time limit, a relaxation from the current $50,000 threshold. This should help businesses reduce fund transfer costs and manage foreign exchange risks more efficiently.

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