BUSINESS

Doubts take 2-bln-euro bite out of bank deposits

EVGENIA TZORTZI

TAGS: Banking, Economy

Deposits in Greek banks recorded losses of 2 billion euros in the year to the end of last week, with the decline putting an end to the growth registered in the latter half of last year. Crucially, if the contraction continues it will undermine any prospects of a gradually easing of the capital controls anytime soon.

According to data gathered by Kathimerini, deposits at Greek banks added up to 129.8 billion euros on February 24, against 131.8 billion at end-December 2016. This concerns household, business and general government deposits at the four systemic banks (Alpha, National, Eurobank and Piraeus) and the three non-systemic banks (Attica, Aegean Baltic Bank and Investment Bank).

If that total is added to the balance at cooperative lenders, the sum comes to 131.6 billion, down from 133.7 billion at the beginning of the year, which constitutes a drop of 2.1 billion euros.

Although the latest data, for last Friday, point to a reduced outflow, which had reached 2.7 billion euros in mid-February, the trend remains quite worrying. It is attributed to widespread uncertainty among depositors in Greece, including many who had their money in holdings abroad and secured the right to re-export their capital when they deposited it in Greece. According to Bank of Greece data the inflow of money from abroad amounted to 5 billion euros last year.

In terms of loans issued to households and enterprises, January posted a negative record in the net monthly credit flow, with payments of older loans outweighing new issues. This amounted to minus 885 million euros, against a positive flow of 124 million euros in December, Bank of Greece figures show.

This lack of liquidity primarily affects Greek businesses, the net flow to which was negative by 643 million euros in January, taking the total loan balance to 93.8 billion euros. Credit contraction in industry amounted to 2.6 percent year-on-year. The net flow to households was negative by 221 million euros, taking the balance of loans to 87.1 billion.

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