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Private sector deposits in Cyprus banks tick down in Jan: ECB

Private-sector deposits declined slightly in Cypriot banks in January, but still reflected broad stabilisation after 17 months of falls starting in June 2012.

Big account holders in the two largest lenders were forced to take a hit as part of an international bailout last year.

Private-sector deposits fell 0.6 per cent to €34.9 billion in January from the previous month, European Central Bank data showed on Thursday. The deposits are about 30 per cent below their peak of €50.5 billion in May 2012.

Banks in the eurozone member state were shut for nearly two weeks last March after Cyprus agreed a €10 billion bailout under which major depositors had to pay part of the cost of the rescue. Capital controls are still in place, with limits on how much people can transfer from their accounts, although Cyprus is gradually easing the restrictions.

The ECB data showed deposits in other southern European countries mired in the debt crisis remained relatively stable.

In Italy, private-sector deposits fell by 1.4 per cent, by 1 per cent in Greece and 1.5 per cent in Portugal. The decrease in Spain amounted to 0.5 per cent and 0.1 per cent in Ireland.

Monthly fluctuations in the figures are common, though sharp consecutive drops in countries with stable banking systems are unusual.

The data, which are for all currencies combined, are not seasonally adjusted and differ slightly from national central bank figures. They exclude deposits from central government and banks. (Reuters)

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