Daily Mail

Credit Suisse turmoil sparks panic as Bank of England called in

- By Calum Muirhead City Reporter

THE Swiss financial authoritie­s last night tried to calm markets by offering support to the crisishit bank Credit Suisse.

The firm had begged the Swiss National Bank to intervene after a massive plunge in its share price set off alarm bells worldwide – and involved Bank of England officials in emergency talks with counterpar­ts across the global financial system.

Credit Suisse’s stock fell by as much as 30 per cent yesterday before ending at 24 per cent, triggering an emergency trading halt on the Swiss stock exchange. The crash came as the chairman of Credit Suisse’s largest backer, Saudi National Bank, ruled out providing more cash to the company due to issues around regulation.

But in a dramatic interventi­on last night, the Swiss National Bank said: ‘Credit Suisse meets the capital and liquidity requiremen­ts imposed on systemical­ly important banks. If necessary, the SNB will provide CS with liquidity.’

Bank of England officials were last night assessing the impact of a potential Credit Suisse collapse, the Telegraph reported.

Yesterday’s panic followed an admission from Credit Suisse on Tuesday that ‘ material weaka nesses’ had been identified in its financial reporting controls.

The 167-year- old Zurich-based bank has been gripped by crisis for several months as it seeks to recover from a string of scandals that have hit the confidence of its investors and customers and led to billions being pulled out of it.

These have been compounded by last week’s collapse of the US group Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) – the largest banking failure since the 2008 financial crisis, which sparked wider concerns about the stability of the entire financial sector. But while SVB was focused on

niche area of the economy – mainly tech start-ups – a failure at Credit Suisse could have furtherrea­ching effects due to its size and deep links to the banking system.

In a stark warning, economist Nouriel Roubini, nicknamed Dr Doom, said a collapse of Credit Suisse would be a ‘ Lehman moment’ – a reference to the major US investment bank Lehman Brothers that went bust in August 2007 at the start of the global financial crisis.

The Swiss National Bank’s statement last night said ‘the problems of certain banks in the USA do not pose a direct risk of contagion for the Swiss financial markets’.

Credit Suisse’s woes quickly spread to other major European banks, with France’s BNP Paribas and Societe Generale sinking by more than 10 per cent.

Meanwhile, the German Deutsche Bank slumped by more than 9 per cent while its rival Commerzban­k fell by 8.8 per cent. Fellow

Swiss bank UBS also dropped nearly 9 per cent.

In the UK, shares in Barclays were down 9 per cent, Lloyds dropped more than 4 per cent, NatWest fell 6 per cent, HSBC slipped 5 per cent and Standard Chartered slid 7.7 per cent.

Panic also crossed the Atlantic to hit shares in US banks as JP Morgan fell 5.5 per cent, Morgan Stanley declined 6.7 per cent, Goldman Sachs lost 5.2 per cent and Bank of America dropped 3 per cent.

Susannah Streeter, of the financial service firm Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘The fresh banking sell-off has taken hold as fears rise to the surface about the robustness of the sector with the shadow of the SVB collapse still

looming large. Nervousnes­s is super-high and that’s spilt over into a hot mess in Europe.’

Larry Fink, head of the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock, warned the US financial system faced a ‘slow rolling crisis’ in the fallout of the SVB collapse and that ‘more seizures and shutdowns’ were coming.

In a letter to the firm’s investors, Mr Fink compared the current upheaval to the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, when more than 1,000 lenders collapsed.

He added recent rises in interest rates were ‘the first domino to drop’ and predicted banks would tighten lending requiremen­ts as a result of the uncertaint­y.

The panic gripping the global banking sector comes as investors fear financial institutio­ns are sitting on large losses after investing in government debt during the pandemic. SVB itself had invested heavily in US government debt, which while usually safe investment­s saw their value plunge as interest rates rose.

It came as the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE 100 index suffered its worst day since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February last year.

‘Direct risk of contagion’

‘First domino to drop’

 ?? Suisse’swoes ?? Panic: A trader at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday after Credit Suisse’s woes
Suisse’swoes Panic: A trader at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday after Credit Suisse’s woes

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