Private-sector deposits in Cypriot banks slide in July, ECB data shows

Consumers and companies continued to withdraw deposits from banks in Cyprus in July, where big account holders in the two largest lenders were forced to take a hit as part of an international bailout.

Private-sector deposits fell by 2.4 percent to 36.7 billion euros after a 7.6 percent fall in June, European Central Bank data showed on Wednesday. They had peaked at 50.5 billion in May of last year.

Banks on the island were shut for nearly two weeks in March after Cyprus agreed a 10-billion-euro bailout, which forced major depositors to pay part of the cost of the rescue.

Capital controls are still in place on the island, with limits on how much people can transfer from their accounts. Cyprus is gradually easing the controls.

The data showed that deposits in another southern European country mired in the debt crisis remained relatively stable.

Private sector deposits fell by 2.3 percent in Spain in July and 1.0 percent in Italy. In Greece and Portugal, deposits remained stable.

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]