XTB Review 2018

4.3 · 26 September, 2018
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XTB is a global broker offering CFD trading. It has 11+ offices worldwide. In Europe, it has a UK-based and a Polish-based legal entity.

XTB Limited is based in London and regulated by the FCA, the UK financial regulator. X-trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA is based in Warsaw but maintains a presence in many different European countries. In these countries, it is regulated by KNF, the Polish regulator.

The London-based entity offers £50,000, while the Warsaw-based entity provides €20,100 investor protection amount per account.

In this review, we tested the UK legal entity, but you will find important information about the Polish entity as well.

Keep in mind: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. In the UK, 79%, while in the rest of Europe 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

As a plus

XTB offers a fast funding and withdrawal process, and you have multiple options to transfer your money including credit/debit cards. The account opening process is also fast and user-friendly. Your account will be ready to trade within a day. Lastly, you can use useful research tools, including stock and ETF screener, market sentiment analysis tool.

On the flip side

It employs relatively high trading fees for share and ETF CFDs. XTB is specialized in forex and CFD trading, so its product portfolio is mainly limited to these products. Furthermore, e-mail support is also a weak point: you get answers slowly if at all.

Recommended for forex and/or CFD trader looking for quick funding and withdrawal coupled with advanced research tools.

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XTB review
Investor protection and regulation

XTB is regulated by more than 10 authorities globally, including the top-tier FCA. It is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and provides negative balance protection. On the flip side, XTB doesn't have a banking background.

XTB is a global broker with offices in more than 11 countries. In Europe, it operates through two major legal entities, the XTB Limited, and the X-trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA.

XTB Limited is based in London, while the X-Trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA is headquartered in Warsaw and has a local presence in several other European countries.

XTB Limited provides £50,000, while the X-trade Brokers Dom Maklerski provides €20,100 investor protection. 

It’s not very obvious which legal entity you’ll be contracting with when you open an XTB account, but it has a huge impact on what investor protection you will get. Here’s a handy summary table for easy comparison:

Country of clients Regulator Investor protection amount Legal entity
United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) £50,000 XTB Ltd.
Hungary
Turkey
Italy Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (‘CySEC’) €20,000 XTB Limited
Other European clients Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF) €20,100 X-Trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA 
Clients outside of Europe International Financial Services Commission of Belize (IFSC) Not provided XTB International Limited

In addition, XTB is listed on the Warsaw stock exchange. XTB being listed on the Warsaw stock exchange which means it is more transparent. Publicly traded companies need to release financial statements and this transparency is definitely an advantage compared to brokers which are not publicly traded. In addition, On top of this, it also provides negative balance protection which prevents you from losing more money than what you have invested with XTB. This is also a big plus as with CFDs it’s not very hard to lose a lot more than what you funded your account with.

The only negative aspect of XTB when it comes to making sure your investments are protected is that they don’t have a banking background. Similarly to being publicly traded, we at Brokerchooser believe that brokers with a bank parent company are more reliable and stable.

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XTB review
Account opening

The account opening process at XTB is hassle-free and straightforward. Your account is ready for trading on the same day of registration. However, the sales team is very pushy.

Who can open an account?

XTB accepts customers from all over Europe, and also from most countries around the world.

There are a few notable restrictions, customers cannot open accounts from the following locations:

  • USA 
  • Canada
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • South-Korea 
  • North-Korea
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Afghanistan
  • Libya
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Syria

Minimum funding requirements

We tested the service provided for UK citizens which requires a minimum account balance of $250/€250/£250.

The required minimum differs from country to country. For example in Poland, there is no minimum deposit, while in Spain there is a required minimum of €1,000. Ask the customer service about the minimum balance of your country before you open your account.

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Account Types

Clients can choose between two account types, the 'standard' and the 'pro'. These differ only in the pricing:

/XTB-review-account-opening-accounty-types

  • at the standard account, you get higher spreads, but there is no commission for stock indices, forex, and commodities.
  • pro account provides tighter spreads, but there is a commission for stock indices, forex, and commodities.

In this XTB review, we tested the pro account.

XTB’s website also lists a ‘basic’ account but that’s a legacy account type. If you open an account right now you only have standard and pro to choose from. 

XTB also has a demo account that allows you to give the platform a test run without any risks as demo accounts use virtual money only.

Account Base Currencies

At XTB, you will find more base currencies. These can differ from country to country. The base currency is the currency of your trading account. We opened an account at the British legal entity where the account can be opened with 4 base currencies: USD, EUR, GBP, and HUF. 

Account opening process

The account opening process is fully digital, fast, and straightforward. You can fill out the forms and submit all the documents within 30 minutes.

At the beginning of the account opening process, you give your personal information, choose the platform you wish to use and the type of account you wish to open (standard, pro). You also can select the base currency and the language you want to use. We really liked that you can select many other languages beyond the English: Polish, Czech, German, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese. 

XTB-review-account-opening-platform-and-account-type

After this you need to answer a couple of questions that ask about your trading experience. This might seem strange for first but this is a standard process with CFD brokers as you potentially can lose more money than you have invested with them.

XTB-review-account-opening-trading-experience

When you finish the online questionnaire, you have to submit a picture or scanned copy of your photo ID or passport, and a proof of residence. This is also a standard process, in financial lingo, it’s called KYC (know-your-customer) and it is required to make sure you are truly identifiable. Be prepared for a pushy sales team until your account is opened.

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XTB review
Funding and withdrawal

Funding and withdrawal processes at XTB are cost-friendly, fast, and can be done in several forms. On the other hand, the fees for electronic wallet are quite high.

Funding options

You can fund your account, i.e. place money on it that you can invest in three ways:

  • Bank transfer: it is free of charge, but it takes few days.
  • Debit/Credit card: it takes literally minutes and the deposits are free of charge. 
  • Electronic wallets, like Skrill or Paypal: it takes only minutes, but charges 2% of the transferred amount. This charge is quite high.

*With the Polish account, you can also use Bluecash or PayU.

XTB-review-funding-and-withdrawal

Withdrawal options

The only way to withdraw your money is by bank transfer. The withdrawal time is up to 2 working days, for us only took 1 day. It depends on the time when the withdrawal is submitted. If you do the withdrawal before 1 pm, it will arrive on the same day, otherwise, withdrawal arrives on the next working day.

XTB-review-withdrawal

You will definitely like that money withdrawal is free above a given threshold. Below the threshold, the following fees are charged.

Thresholds for small withdrawals Costs
< $100 $20
< €80 €16
< £60 £12
< HUF 12,000 HUF 3,000

Compare XTB to other brokers to find out how these withdrawal costs compare to other brokers:

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XTB review
Product portfolio

UK, Hungarian and non-European clients can trade only with CFDs. Clients from other European countries can also trade with real shares and ETFs.

Equities and ETFs

XTB's real stock and ETF offer include around 16 stock markets with ~1,900 stocks and ~80 ETFs. This puts XTB somewhere between IG's 25 markets with 9,000+ stocks and ~1,500 ETFs or eTorro's 9 markets with ~1,300 stocks.

CFDs

CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Within CFDs, you can trade with forex, stock, stock index, ETF, commodity, and crypto CFDs.

XTB's CFD offer is better than eToro's, very similar to Plus500's, but lags behind IG's CFD portfolio.

  XTB eToro Plus500 IG
Forex CFDs 48 47 59 100+
Stock CFDs ~1,500 ~1,000 ~1,700 10,000+
Stock index CFDs 34 12 23 68
ETF CFDs 87 53 80 ~1,900
Commodity CFDs 21 7 17 47
Crypto CFDs 5 7 9 6

 

XTB review
Fee structure

XTB has favorable non-trading fees and average trading fees.

 

To get things rolling, let's go over some basic terminology. Trading fees include commission and spread cost. Non-trading fees include the financing rate withdrawal fee, inactivity fee and more.

  • The commission is a fee charged by the broker for completing a trade. 
  • Spreads are the difference between the bid and the ask price. Brokers often incorporate fees into spreads. They get a spread from the market, include their fees and provide for you a wider spread. For example, the market sells EURUSD for 1.1, the broker will sell it to you for 1.2, they keep the 0.1. The wider the spread the higher the spread cost will be.
  • Financing rate is the premium the broker will charge you for financing a leveraged position, like CFDs.

Now, let's dive into the details.

Trading fees

The applied commissions and spreads are different between the account types. At standard account, you pay only spreads, while at pro accounts you will face commission and the market spreads, i.e. the interbank spreads.

We tested PRO account, so in the following, the information about trading fees relate to it:

In case of forex, stock index, commodity, and crypto CFDs you will face commission and the market spreads, i.e. the interbank spreads. A commission of $4/€3.5/£2.5 is charged per one lot (100,000 amount in the relevant currency).

For stock and ETF CFDs, XTB charges only commission and you get a spread without fees. The commission is 0.08% or minimum $8/€8/£8.

Find below the trading-related cost of a typical trade for XTB and three other CFD brokers. A typical trade for forex means a $20,000 buy, holding the position for one week, and then sell it. It is a $2,000 position with the same conditions for stock CFDs.

Typical costs of forex and stock CFD trading
  XTB IG Plus500 eToro
EURUSD $16 $13 $15 $12
Apple $18 $32 $9 $3
BMW $20 $25 $10 $9

XTB's forex trading costs are one of the highest among its peers, while stock CFD trading fees are average.

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Non-trading fees

When it comes to non-trading fees, XTB provides a favorable pricing. There are no inactivity fees, and the financing rates are mid-range.

The conditions can be different from country to country. For example, at the UK entity, there is no account fee, while for the Polish clients it exists. You should check the fee conditions before you start trading. Below, we share the conditions of the UK account.

Non-trading fees
Account fee No
Inactivity fee No
Conversion fee No
Financing cost Yes, see below
Deposit fee

Bank transfer: free

Card: free

Electronic wallets: 2%

Withdrawal fee Free above a given amount, e.g. $100

Withdrawal and deposit fees depend on the currency, the type and the amount of the transfer. XTB apply a quite high fee for electronic wallets. There is also a fee if you withdraw money below a threshold. Check the funding and withdrawal section for further information.

When you hold your CFD positions overnight, i.e. after the market closes, a financing cost is applied. It’s also often referred to as an overnight fee. The actual, daily financing rates are published on the trading platform. XTB's financing rates are mixed when we compare to its competitors through EURUSD, Apple and BMW CFDs.

Yearly financing rate XTB IG Plus500 eToro
EURUSD 3.7% 2.9% 3.7% 1.8%
Apple 4.6% 4.4% 9.9% 4.9%
BMW 2.1% 2.1% 10.7% 6.9%

XTB review
Web trading platform

XTB's xStation 5 platform is user-friendly with good customizability and search function. On the flip side, we missed the two-step login, the leverage setting option, and the more sophisticated order types.

XTB gives you access to xStation 5, its own platform, and also to Metatrader 4, provided by a third-party. In our XTB review, we tested the xStation 5.

We liked that you can choose from many languages: English, Polish, Czech, German, Spanish, French, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese. 

On the other hand, the leverage ratio is set up automatically and that’s something we are not a big fan of at Brokerchooser. Ideally, you could start trading with a low leverage and easily change it for yourself if you are getting more confident. At XTB you can only change it by contacting their customer service

Look and feel

XTB’s xStation 5 might look like it’s designed for hardcore professionals and can come off as somewhat intimidating at first sight. As you start to use it you’ll find out though that it’s really well put together and you’ll be able to use it with ease, even if you are a beginner.

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-default-layout

Illustrative picture

The default layout is built up of the following features:

  • Account balance, margin, and profit
  • Open positions
  • Pending orders
  • Market watch which shows the assets' prices and performances
  • Chart of the selected asset or multiple assets
  • News
  • Economic calendar
  • Market analysis
  • Education
  • History

We liked how customizable the trading platform is but we missed some features other’s offer like the ability to save the layout that you put together for later use.

Login and Security

You can log in very easily with your email and password. This is called one-step login which is very easy to use but it’s also not the most secure. We’d like to see a two-step authentication, something that other services that don’t store that much sensitive financial information, like Gmail use as well. With two-step authentication, you are sent an SMS code which you have to also type in during the login to make sure it’s really you.

Search Functions and Charts

There are two ways you can search for an asset. All of these ways are in a tab named ‘Market Watch':

  • there are categories based on the asset types, like stock indices or currency pairs, and the countries. Therefore, if you want to trade with a US stock CFD, you just click on the stock type and select the US.
  • you type the name of the product you want to trade in the search tab.

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-search

Illustrative picture

At the chart tab, you can add ~25 indicators, change candle and line graph styles, and also set the time range.

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-chart

Illustrative picture

Placing Orders

XTB's order management is mid-range, more than basic, but also not the most sophisticated:

  • You can use instant and pending orders. These are more known as the market order and the limit order.
  • You can also use, take profit and stop loss orders.
  • Trailing stop order is available as well.

Another useful feature is the trader calculator which helps you to calculate the margin, the commission, and other important parameters. 

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-orders-and-calculator

Illustrative picture

Alerts and Notifications

You can set up email and SMS alerts for various important events like margin calls, deposits and withdrawals, your closed/open positions and other features.

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-notification

Illustrative picture

Portfolio and Fee reports

You will get daily reports via e-mails, but you can easily see your performances and fees on the web trading platform as well. When you go to the 'history' tab, you can see the profit/loss of your positions. 

XTB-review-web-trading-platform-fee-reports

Illustrative picture

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XTB review
Mobile trading platform

The mobile platform has a good search function with an ok design. On the other hand, there is no two-step authentication and the order types are limited.

XTB provides two mobile trading platforms: xStation 5 and Metatrader 4. Both are available on IoS and Android. We tested XTB's own platform, the xStation 5 for Android.

Also good to know that XTB's trading platform is available on Apple watch as well.

Similarly to the web trading platform, you can choose from many languages at mobile platform as well..

Look and feel

The mobile trading app's design is ok, but it's less convincing compared to the web trading platform. XTB integrated all major functions from the web trading platform:

  • search for products in the trading panel
  • place orders for products
  • analyze charts
  • watch economic calendar
  • read news
  • use some research tool
  • watch educational videos

XTB-review-mobile%20trading-platform-menu

Illustrative picture

Login and Security

BBy default, XTB’s mobile app uses a single step authentication but you can set a PIN code as well for added security. This is the kind of extra security we mentioned we miss on the web trading platform.

Search Functions

Search function for the products can be found at the trading panel in the menu. You can see the products categorized according to their types. In contrast to web trading platform, you will see only the more important products, and you can't filter for countries.

If you click on the '+' sign on the upper right corner, you can type manually the preferred products.

XTB-review-mobile-trading-platform-search-function

Illustrative picture

Placing Orders

On mobile, you can set the same notifications that you can set on web trading platform.

XTB-review-mobile-trading-platform-orders

Illustrative picture

Alerts and Notifications

On mobile, you can set the same notifications comparing to XTB's web trading platform.

XTB-review-mobile-trading-platform-notifications 

Illustrative picture

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XTB review
Desktop trading platform

XTB's xStation 5 platform has a desktop version as well. In functionality and design, it's totally the same as the web trading platform.

XTB's xStation 5 platform has a desktop version as well. Its design and functionality are identical to the web trading platform. The advantage of this is that you can install it on your Windows or Mac computer and don’t have to use a web browser to access the platform.

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XTB review
Research

XTB does well in providing user-friendly research tools. From the stock screener to the technical indicators, you can find many useful tools. On the flip side, the quality of the news could be improved.

XTB has the following research tools:

  • News and trader's talks
  • Economic calendar
  • Market sentiment
  • Charts about the top movers
  • Stock screener
  • Heatmap about the assets' performances 
  • ETF scanner provided by a third-party service provider, the Morningstar

The news is written by XTB's own team. The research team was voted the Best EMEA FX Forecaster by Bloomberg in 2018 Q2 and Q3.

Beyond the news, there is a feature called trader's talks. It includes short messages about the actual happenings on the market.

By using the economic calendar, you can see the forthcoming events. When you select an event, you can read a short summary about it and check the historical performance of the related assets. For example, you can check the price change of the Norwegian Krone at the events of the Norwegian economic data releases.

XTB-review-research-economic-calendar

The market sentiment function shows the percentage of XTB clients' long and short positions.

XTB-review-research-market-sentiment

The stock screener is a tool for analyzing stocks. It is really thorough as you can choose from 14 filters including market capitalization, P/E, BETA, or debt-to-equity ratio. You can also filter for the industry and the countries.

XTB-review-research-stock-screener

Another useful tool is the ETF scanner. It is very similar to the stock screener. As its name suggests it is used for ETFs. With the ETF scanner, you can choose from 10 filters including cumulative return or the assets' total value. When we tested this tool, only three ETFs were visible and the filters we tried to change were not always working.

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XTB review
Education

XTB has a well organized and easy-to-understand education section. You will find educational tools from texts to trading platform videos.

XTB provides the following educational methods:

  • participating in webinars
  • reading educational texts
  • filling out quizzes
  • watching educational videos
  • watching trading platform videos

We liked the structure of educational texts as they can be categorized based on the trading experience or subjects. They were understandable and logically structured. At the end of the lessons, you can fill out quizzes. It's a unique feature as we rarely experienced something like this at other brokers.

XTB-review-education

In addition, you can watch educational and trading platform videos integrated into the texts. We think this great as it is easier to learn through interactive tools, like videos or infographics. 

Unfortunately, we couldn't test the webinars as there were no available courses at the time of the review.

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XTB review
Customer service

XTB's phone and live chat support are reliable and fast. On the flip side, the e-mail support is slow and the customer service is available only on the workdays.

You can reach out to XTB's customer service by phone, e-mail, and in some cases live chat. The customer service is available 24/5. The 24h availability is good, however, some competitors, like IG, provide a 24/7 customer service. You will really like that you can reach out to the customer service in many languages, including the minor ones, like Hungarian and Romanian.

We had a great experience when we tested XTB's customer support by phone. They answered the phone instantly and the tone was professional and generous.

You can access the live chat only in a tricky way. For example, on the UK website, you cannot find the live chat function. You can only leave a message that will be answered in an email. However, when you transfer money on the trading platform, you can get support by live chat. We tested it, and the operator was really helpful and professional.

XTB-review-customer-service-live-chat

Live chat is also available for clients belonging to X-Trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA. So if you browse on the Polish website, you can ask your questions using the live chat.

On the other hand, XTB's e-mail support is not reliable and often slow. We wrote many e-mails, but we didn't get answers for all of them, and even when we received an answer they took 2-3 days to arrive.

XTB-review-customer-service-e-mail-support

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XTB review
Bottom line

XTB is regulated by more than 10 authorities globally, including the top-tier FCA. It is listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange and provides negative balance protection. On the flip side, XTB doesn't have a banking background.

On the plus side, it has a fast funding and withdrawal process. We really liked the seamless and hassle-free account opening as well. Lastly, you will find the research tools really useful and easy-to-use.

XTB has some drawbacks though. The trading fees are mid-range or high depending on the asset class. Its product range is also limited mainly to CFDs. Moreover, the quality of the email customer support needs to be improved.

We recommend XTB for clients preferring forex and CFD trading and aim for a fast account opening, cheap money withdrawal, and great research tools. Feel free to test it even via the demo account.

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XTB logo

XTB is a global broker offering CFD trading. It has 11+ offices worldwide. In Europe, it has a UK-based and a Polish-based legal entity.

XTB Limited is based in London and regulated by the FCA, the UK financial regulator. X-trade Brokers Dom Maklerski SA is based in Warsaw but maintains a presence in many different European countries. In these countries, it is regulated by KNF, the Polish regulator.

The London-based entity offers £50,000, while the Warsaw-based entity provides €20,100 investor protection amount per account.

In this review, we tested the UK legal entity, but you will find important information about the Polish entity as well.

Keep in mind: CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. In the UK, 79%, while in the rest of Europe 82% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Recommended for forex and/or CFD trader looking for quick funding and withdrawal coupled with advanced research tools.

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Overall

Pros
  • Fast funding and withdrawal process
  • Fast and user-friendly account opening process
  • Good research tools
Cons
  • High trading fees for share and ETF CFDs
  • Limited product portfolio
  • Slow and unreliable e-mail support

Investor protection and regulation

Pros
  • Regulated by top tier financial authority
  • Listed on stock exchange
  • Negative balance protection available
Cons
  • Does not hold a banking license

Account opening

Pros
  • Fast account opening - within 3 days
  • Account opening fully digital
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • Sales team pushy

Funding and withdrawal

Pros
  • Credit/Debit card funding and withdrawal available
  • Speedy funding and withdrawal -within 3 days
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • High fees for funding with electronic wallets

Product portfolio

  • CFDs
  • Cryptos
  • Real stocks and ETFs for European clients except for UK and Hungary

Fee structure

Pros
  • No inactivity fee
Cons
  • High trading fees

Web trading platform

Pros
  • Good search function
  • Good customizability (for chart, for workspace)
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Limited order types
  • Missing leverage setting option

Mobile trading platform

Pros
  • Good search function
  • Nice design
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Limited order types
  • Missing leverage setting option

Desktop trading platform

Pros
  • Good search function
  • Good customizability (for chart, for workspace)
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • No two-step (safe) login
  • Limited order types
  • Missing leverage setting option

Research

Pros
  • Good interactive chart
  • Good set of analytical tools
  • User-friendly
Cons
  • No/Bad quality news available

Education

Pros
  • Trading platform tutorial videos available
  • Educational videos available
  • Easy to understand
Cons
None

Customer service

Pros
  • Phone support available
  • Live chat available
  • Relevant answers
Cons
  • Slow support for e-mail
  • 24/5 availability

AUTHOR OF THIS REVIEW

Gergely Korpos
Gergely Korpos
Co-founder, CPO
Gergely's aim is to bring more clarity into personal investing. He has 10 years of experience in financial markets with GE Money, KPMG and MOL. He concluded thousands of trades as a commodity trader and financial portfolio manager
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