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Tue, Oct 28, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Nordic leaders to discuss Icelandic banking crisis

TAKING A TUMBLE Nordic stock markets plummeted yesterday, with the Stockholm OMX 30 index falling 5.26 an hour into trading and a 5.14 percent decline in Oslo

BLOOMBERG AND AFP , HELSINKI AND STOCKHOLM

Prime ministers from the five Nordic countries were to hold an extraordinary meeting yesterday on the global financial crisis at a three-day summit in Helsinki.

Leaders from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland will meet at the annual Nordic Council summit to discuss measures to tackle the crisis at the request of Iceland’s prime minister.

Iceland has seen its banking system collapse in recent weeks.

CALLS FOR HELP

Earlier this month, three of the country’s banks were nationalized and the government of Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haare has turned to international bodies to help it overcome the crippling crisis, which has also caused the Icelandic krona to plummet.

On Friday it became the first Western country since Britain in 1976 to approach the IMF for aid, agreeing on a loan of US$2.1 billion.

Paul Thomsen, the head of the IMF mission in Iceland, said the country would also get a further US$4 billion from other countries as part of a package spread over two years.

MOSCOW

Media reports have suggested that the Nordic countries might contribute and last week an Icelandic delegation held inconclusive talks with Russian officials in Moscow.

Ministers at the summit in Helsinki will discuss the environment, climate change and health.

The Nordic Council was set up in 1952 to ensure cooperation on legislation between its member states.

STOCK MARKET PLUNGE

Nordic stock markets plummeted yesterday amid the continued anxiety over the global financial crisis, with the Stockholm OMX 30 index falling 5.26 just over an hour into trading.

The Stockholm index was especially weighed down by the floundering financial sector, with the SEB bank tumbling 11.20 percent, Swedbank down 10.50 percent and Nordea bank shedding 9.95 percent.

OSLO

The Oslo stock exchange meanwhile shrank 5.14 percent, also dragged down by financial stocks like the DnB NOR bank, which fell 8.24 percent and the Storebrand insurance company, which plunged 13.48 percent.

The Copenhagen market shed 5.05 percent, pulled lower by among others Denmark’s largest bank Danske Bank, which was down 8.50 percent.

Helsinki fell 4.17 percent under the weight of an 8.85 percent decline for the country’s Nordea bank branch, but also pushed lower by a 5.64 percent drop for world leading mobile phone maker Nokia.

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