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Greece's liabilities towards ECB payment system near their 2012 highs
[FRANKFURT] Greece's liabilities to the eurozone's bank payment system climbed last summer to highs not seen since 2012, as fears Greece would be forced out of the eurozone drove money out of the country, data from the European Central Bank showed on Monday.
The Bank of Greece had net liabilities of 106.13 billion euros (US$119.24 billion) towards the ECB at the end of July, according to data from the Target 2 payment system published for the first time on Monday.
The Target 2 system facilitates payments between banks in different eurozone countries by channelling them through each national central bank's account at the ECB. In the case of the latest data, payments by Greek banks to institutions in other eurozone countries exceeded flows in the opposite directions by 106.13 billion euros.
Greece's net liabilities hit 107.70 billion euros, their highest level since late 2012, at the end of June, when the Greek government decided to introduce capital controls.
Cross-border payment imbalances increased during the 2010-2012 eurozone debt crisis as the private sector withdrew capital and banks turned to the ECB for funding because banks from the stronger economies stopped lending to them.
Italian and Spanish net liabilities have declined from their 2012 peak while Greece's have increased again since late last year, along with political uncertainty in the country.
The ECB said it would now publish Target 2 data on the first working day of every month, albeit with a one-month time lag.