Foreign banks suspend Ivory Coast operations

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Foreign banks suspend Ivory Coast operations

Post by Strawberry on Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:48 am

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast's biggest bank, a unit of Societe Generale, said it was suspending its activities on Thursday, the latest in an exodus of foreign banks that is turning political crisis into financial meltdown.

"Owing to the situation and despite all out efforts, we regret to inform you that SGBCI is obliged to provisionally suspend its activities from February 17 2011," a website statement said, the fifth international bank to pull out this week.

The financial system in the world's top cocoa grower is in on the brink of collapse after disputed incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo cut the country's ties with West Africa's central bank because it would not recognise his signature on state accounts.

French bank BNP Paribas's Ivorian unit, the second biggest bank, and Citibank suspended operations on Monday and Nigeria's Access Bank and Standard Chartered followed suit on Wednesday.

Societe Generale and BNP Paribas between them ran more than two thirds of the banking system.

Banks pulling out cited security concerns and problems with liquidity and clearing cheques.

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