Bank deposits stabilize in eurozone periphery, ECB data shows

Firms and consumers stopped pulling their money out of Greek banks in March, European Central Bank data showed on Monday, giving some respite to the country’s troubled banking system.

Private sector deposits in Greek banks increased 0.5 percent in March after a near 2.7 percent drop in February, with the total falling inching up to 171.1 billion euros, still 30 percent below their peak in December 2009.

Private-sector deposits in Portugal fell by 1.8 percent to their lowest level since May of last year.

Other countries in the middle of the debt crisis fared better, with Spain, Ireland and Italy posting slight increases.

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. The measure excludes deposits from central government and financial institutions. [Reuters]