Credit Suisse Shares Plunge as Bank Storm Spreads to Europe

Credit Suisse shares tumbled more than 20% in pre-market trading on Wednesday after its biggest backer ruled out investing any more into the troubled Swiss bank. 

“The answer is absolutely not, for many reasons outside the simplest reason, which is regulatory and statutory,” Saudi National Bank Chairman Ammar Al Khudairy said in a Bloomberg interview, responding to whether the Gulf lender would dole out more money. 

Shares in Credit Suisse slid 21.91% to $1.96 in pre-market trading in US-listed shares. Meanwhile, in Zurich, it’s stock fell 19% to $1.79, marking a new record low on Switzerland’s stock exchange. The bank’s stock is down about 24% since the start of the year.

The Saudi lender became the largest shareholder in Credit Suisse after it replaced Harris Associates earlier in March. But acquiring any additional stake in the company is not an option for them, Al Khudairy said. 

“If we go above 10%, all new rules kick in whether it be by our regulator or the Swiss regulator or the European regulator,” he said. “We’re not inclined to get into a new regulatory regime. I can cite five or six other reasons, but one reason is there is a glass ceiling and we’re not going to entertain going beyond it,” he added. 

Credit Suisse’s troubles have been growing of late. It published its annual report on Tuesday after having delayed it for a few days because the Securities and Exchange Commission questioned some changes the bank made related to cash flow statements, adding in its annual report that it identified “material weaknesses” in its financial reporting.

In a further sign of turmoil, the cost of insuring bonds of Credit Suisse against a default in the near term has surged. The five-year credit default swaps on Credit Suisse debt extended to 533 basis points from 549 basis points at last close, per Reuters.

On the news, shares in the pan-European Stoxx 600 index also tumbled in Europe, leading to trading halts, according to CNBC

The global banking sector has been rocked in recent days by the stunning collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which set off a slide in regional US bank stocks. Investors have been fretting over whether SVB’s downfall will trigger another 2008-style crisis.

Business Insider