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'Rivers' of euros flood into banks, boom of deposits in the European currency
Written by SOT.COM.AL 29 Shtator 2023
Albanians deposited 1 billion euros in banks in the span of one year. Official data from the Bank of Albania show that at the end of August, deposits in European currency reached 7.1 billion euros from 6.1 billion euros in August last year.
Deposits in euros started to grow at a fast pace especially after 2020. But in the last two years, they have grown by an average of 1 billion euros per year, which is a pace never seen before.
The data show that Albanians are currently saving only in euros. According to the Bank of Albania, deposits in lek were almost stagnant throughout this year, while in August they reached the level of 713 billion lek from 711 billion lek in August last year.
Despite the efforts of the Bank of Albania to de-euroize the economy, the preference for the European currency remains very strong and even growing stronger.
The rivers of euros that are flowing into the banks partly reflect the improvement of the external position of the economy in the current account, but also in the capital account. The increase in income flows from tourism, but also foreign investments, have led to the expansion of the supply of euros in the domestic market. But a growing concern has been that of informal flows of euros, which originate from illegal activities such as trafficking or other crimes.
Although the government and the Bank of Albania do not officially acknowledge the phenomenon of currency flowing from illegal activities, exchange rate shocks, the explosion of construction activity and other indirect indicators signal that this phenomenon is significant. Even, as seen from the deposit figures, drug euros are finding their way into the banking system.