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MILAN, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Private sector deposits held at Italian banks quickened their pace of growth in December while loans to businesses continued to decline, Bank of Italy data showed on Friday.
Data from the central bank showed that private sector deposits rose 6.9 percent in December from a year earlier, after an increase of 6.6 percent in November.
Lenders however did not pour that money back into the economy, and loans to non-financial firms fell 2.2 percent - the ninth consecutive monthly decline.
In November, the decline was 3.4 percent.
Bad loans, a major concern for investors, rose by 16.6 percent from a year earlier. (Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Danilo Masoni)