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8 Feb, 2023 11:08

Turkish stock market suspends trading

The decision followed a deep sell-off in the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in the south of the country
Turkish stock market suspends trading

Türkiye’s stock exchange announced on Wednesday it was suspending equity trading for the first time in 24 years, following a market rout triggered by two massive earthquakes.

The benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index (BIST 100) was suspended after a 7.09% drop during early trading.

The index, which entered bear-market territory on Tuesday, is headed for its worst weekly performance since the 2008 global financial crisis. Meanwhile, the banking sub-index (.XBANK) declined 6.03% as trading was halted.

“Our stock exchange has decided to halt trading in equities, futures, and options markets,” Borsa Istanbul said in a statement after two market-wide circuit breakers failed to stop a slide in the main index. The stock market operator did not announce when trading would resume.

“At times of catastrophes like this, suspending trading in the stock market is a better decision in order to protect investors,” Marmara Capital’s Haydar Acun told Bloomberg.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake wreaked havoc across southern Türkiye and northern Syria on Monday, and was followed by dozens of aftershocks and a second quake on a nearby fault line, which caused further destruction. Many buildings collapsed, killing thousands of people and trapping many others under rubble.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a seven-day period of mourning for victims of the disaster, which he called the worst since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake. Erdogan has also declared a state of emergency in the ten regions most affected, which will be in place for at least three months.

The combined death toll in Türkiye and Syria has exceeded 10,000, and is expected to rise as rescue work continues.

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