PRESS RELEASE

TARGET closing days in 2000

15 July 1999

With regard to the calendar of TARGET operating days for 1999, it was announced by the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) on 31 March 1999 that TARGET would close on 31 December 1999, in addition to Saturdays and Sundays, Christmas Day (25 December) and New Year's Day. Closing TARGET on 31 December 1999 will enhance the safety of the transition to the year 2000.

The experience gained during the first six months of 1999 shows that all TARGET operating days were considered to be value dates for financial market contracts in euro. As a result, payment traffic was not negligible on days such as Good Friday and Easter Monday, when cross-border traffic in TARGET reached two thirds and half of the normal volume respectively. However, considering the financial and social cost of keeping the TARGET system open on days which are traditionally public holidays (or bank holidays) in most of the euro area and also the indication given by the European banking industry that it would welcome the closing of TARGET on such days, the Governing Council has decided to implement the following regime for the year 2000:

  1. In principle, TARGET as a whole, i.e. all real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems and the Interlinking component, will - in addition to Saturdays and Sundays - be closed on New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), Christmas Day and 26 December;
  2. In euro-area countries where one of these days is not a public holiday, the national central bank (NCB) will endeavour to close the national RTGS system on the date in question. Where this is not possible, the NCB will seek to limit domestic payments activity as much as possible. The standing facilities will be available at those NCBs that remain open for such limited activities. In non-euro area countries, the euro RTGS system will close on all six aforementioned days;
  3. New Year's Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May (Labour Day), Christmas Day and 26 December will not be settlement days for the euro money market and foreign exchange transactions involving the euro; and
  4. The correspondent central banking model (CCBM) for the cross-border use of collateral will be closed on the TARGET closing days.

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