Bank of Italy withdrew 50% of liras at end Jan

ITALY - The Bank of Italy has withdrawn just over half of the old liras in circulation with less than a month to go before the currency is to be entirely replaced by euros, Bank Of Italy Governor Antonio Fazio said Saturday.

"As of 31 January, we've taken back 1.7 billion bills worth ITL68.5 trillion (EUR35.4 billion), slightly more than 50% of the total value in circulation," Fazio told an annual forex conference in Lodi, a town near Milan.

In exchange for the old currency, he said a total of