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El Salvador Resources

Summary

The Salvadoran colon (SVC), the former official currency of El Salvador, is no longer in circulation and is rarely used since the country adopted the US dollar as its official currency in 2001. The colon is still accepted as legal tender, however, and the US dollar has a fixed exchange rate of 8.75 colones. El Salvador places no restrictions on international money transfers into or out of the country, though when importing or exporting large amounts of foreign or local currency, it should be declared and proof of ownership may be required.

El Salvador money transfer regulations

El Salvador is open to foreign direct investment and takes active steps to encourage investments from around the world and in a variety of sectors. The country has no foreign exchange or currency controls and there are no restrictions on transferring investment funds out of the country. Foreign businesses can freely repatriate capital, reinvest profits, or send additional capital for investments. El Salvador does not restrict currency transactions.

El Salvador’s monetary and regulatory authority

The Banco Central de Reserva de El Salvador is countrys primary monetary and regulatory authority. Its main functions include establishing currency stability, maintaining favorable monetary and foreign exchange policies, and ensuring the transparency of the countrys financial system. Other functions include administration of international reserves, settlements facilitator between companies and people through a payments system, financial agent for the Government.

The Superintendent of the Financial System supervises all banks and non-bank financial activities, including insurance companies, pension fund administrators, and stock market participants. Suspicious transactions must be reported by all financial institutions to the Superintendent of the Financial System and the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) of the General Attorneys Office, according to the Anti-Money Laundering Law. In agreement with the law, Salvadoran banks keep all accounts in U.S. dollars.

El Salvador's economic background

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America and the fourth largest economy in the region. In 2013 the country registered of GDP of USD $24.26 billion GDP, 16% of which was remittances from abroad. An estimated one-third of all households in El Salvador received remittance income in 2013, mainly from family members living and working in the United States, which is home to 90% of the Salvadorian expatriate community. Remittances inflows sent to El Salvador in 2013 were equivalent to the countrys entire export income. Due to this high volume of remittances from abroad, wage expectations were increased, which also led to an increase in real estate prices.

El Salvador's laws and regulations are mostly transparent and foster competition. The government still maintains control over certain goods and services, including gasoline, electricity, public transportation, and medicines. In spite of its relatively diversified economy and strong free-trade agreements with the United States (CAFTA-DR), the European Union (EU), and Mexico, El Salvador's long-term economic development and growth are compromised by its vulnerability to natural disasters, insufficient infrastructure, lack of natural resources, and high levels of poverty and insecurity linked to violent crime.

Currency

El Salvador adopted the US dollar as its official currency on January 1, 2001, forfeiting control of its monetary policy for a more stable currency than the Salvadoran colon. Upon adoption of the dollar, the government began an education campaign to help its citizen understand the new currency and its different denominations.

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