The course is firmly set for the European Union to have International Accounting Standards in place for its 7,000 listed companies by Jan. 1, 2005.

But the new rules will come in with one standard - IAS 39 - with a carve-out of 17 paragraphs. The result would be to allow fair value hedge accounting of bank core deposits on a portfolio basis. Against this relaxation, it will prohibit the use of the IAS 39 fair value option as it applies to liabilities.

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