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Private sector deposits in Cyprus banks tick up in March: ECB

Private-sector deposits in Cypriot banks rose slightly in March, the first monthly increase since November, while deposits in other southern European countries hit by the eurozone debt crisis remained relatively stable, ECB data showed.

Big account holders in Cyprus’ two largest lenders were forced to take a hit as part of an international bailout for Cyprus last year and private sector deposits at all banks on the island had been broadly declining since June 2012.

In March, private-sector deposits at Cypriot banks rose by 0.5 per cent to 34.6 billion euros  in March from the previous month, European Central Bank data showed on Tuesday. The deposits are about 32 per cent below their peak of 50.5 billion euros in May 2012.

Banks in Cyprus were shut for nearly two weeks last March after the island agreed a 10-billion-euro 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.

In Italy, private-sector deposits rose by 0.9 per cent in March and they rose by 1.0 per cent in Greece and by 0.2 per cent in Portugal, the ECB data showed.

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

The data 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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