Euro area depositors fastest to leave Cyprus in February

Savers from other eurozone countries withdrew 18 percent of the cash they held in Cyprus in February, amid concerns the struggling island would impose a tax on bank deposits.

Figures from the Central Bank of Cyprus published on Thursday showed deposits from other euro zone states fell 860 million euros to 3.9 billion euros, making them the fastest category to leave the stricken country.

Deposits from non-euro zone countries actually rose, by less than 1 percent to 21 billion euros, while deposits from local residents fell less than 1 percent to 42.6 billion euros.

Overall, deposits were down almost 1 billion euros to 67.5 billion. Separate figures from the European Central Bank, which are prepared using a different methodology, showed deposits fell 100,000 euros to 72 billion euros.

They are expected to fall more sharply in March, with significant outflows reported in the days after the March 15 announcement that Cyprus would levy a 6.75 percent tax on all deposits under 100,000 euros and a 9.9 percent levy on deposits above the 100,000 euros mark.

The levy was rejected by Cyprus lawmakers, and replacement measures will see large depositors in fallen Cyprus Popular Bank lose about 80 percent of their cash, while big depositors in Bank of Cyprus will lose 30 to 40 percent. [Reuters]

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