March 12, 2018 / 3:40 PM / a year ago

Emergency central bank funding to Greek banks drops by 4.2 bln euros in Jan.

ATHENS, March 12 (Reuters) - Emergency central bank funding to Greek lenders dropped by 4.21 billion euros, or 19.4 percent, in January compared to December last year, Bank of Greece data showed on Monday.

Emergency funding, which is more costly than borrowing from the European Central Bank, dropped to 17.4 billion euros ($21.44 billion) from 21.61 billion euros at the end of December, the data showed.

Greek banks have relied on emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) drawn from the Greek central bank since February 2015 after being cut off from the ECB’s funding window due to stalled bailout talks between the government and its official creditors.

Their dependence on the ELA emergency lifeline has declined since June last year when the European Central Bank reinstated banks’ access to its cheap funding operations. ($1 = 0.8118 euros) (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos)

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