Private sector deposits in Cyprus banks tick down in April

Private-sector deposits in Cypriot banks fell slightly in April and deposits in other southern European countries hit by the eurozone debt crisis remained relatively stable, European Central Bank data showed on Wednesday.

Big account holders in Cyprus’s 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 April, private-sector deposits at Cypriot banks fell by 0.7 percent to 34.3 billion euros from the previous month, data showed. The deposits are about 32 percent below their peak of 50.5 billion euros in May 2012.

Banks in the eurozone member state were shut for nearly two weeks in March last year after Cyprus 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 fell by 0.9 percent in April after a similar increase the previous month. Deposits rose by 0.5 percent in Greece and by 0.8 percent 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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