Pessimism has been expressed by Sir Robin Ibbs, chairman of Lloyds TSB, about the feasibility of an early launch of a single European currency. He told reporters last week that he doubted whether countries will be able to meet the convergence criteria necessary to proceed with a single European currency on January 1, 1999. However, he did say that if it does go ahead, Lloyds TSB would be able to deliver a wholesale service in the single currency from day one, noting that the bank is already

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