Bank of America Corp. said Tuesday that it will shed about half of its employees in Italy and Spain as it centralizes its debt-trading business in Europe.

Also affected will be the bank's foreign exchange and derivatives teams in Milan and Madrid, where a combined 160 employees are based. Bank of America will consolidate much of those operations in London, according to John Keane, a spokesman.

Mr. Keane said the moves are intended to sharpen client focus and reduce costs. He declined to comment on specific numbers of job cuts.

Many U.S. banks are curtailing or consolidating their European debt and currency teams as the euro, introduced Jan. 1, has allowed easier cross- border transactions.

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