Page last updated at 22:42 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 23:42 UK

Citigroup sees second giant loss

Citigroup sgn
Citigroup is the latest bank to reveal further losses from the credit crisis

Citigroup has suffered a second massive loss and is cutting 9,000 jobs as the credit crisis continues to take its toll on the biggest US bank.

It made a loss of $5.11bn (2.7bn) in the first quarter, although this was smaller than the $9.8bn loss reported in the final three months of 2007.

The results included about $12bn of write-downs for sub-prime mortgages and other risky assets.

Citigroup employs about 369,000 people worldwide, including 11,000 in London.

The job cuts are on top of 4,200 layoffs announced in January.

Lenders worldwide have written off more than $200bn hit by the credit crisis.

"Our financial results reflect the continuation of the unprecedented market and credit environment," said Citigroup chief executive Vikram Pandit.

Only Switzerland's UBS has reported bigger write-downs and credit losses than Citigroup from the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market.

'Cathartic quarter'

The loss was slightly deeper than many analysts had expected but European and US stock markets rose in relief there were no nasty surprises.

"It's a cathartic quarter," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co in New York.

Citigroup shares climbed 4.5% in New York to finish at $25.11 - still about half what they were trading at last year.

"The market is shrugging it off. We knew there were going to be write-offs and [Citigroup] hasn't yet said anything far too negative," said Andrea Williams, head of European equities at Royal London Asset Management.

Earlier this week, Citigroup rival Merrill Lynch said it lost $1.96bn in the first quarter of 2008 and unveiled plans to cut about 4,000 jobs worldwide.

Merrill's results included about $4.5bn of sub-prime related write-downs.

Revenue halves

Citigroup's revenues plunged 48% to $13.2bn as the firm wrote-down the value of assets linked to sub-prime mortgages - those given to people with poor or patchy credit histories.

Of the write-downs, $6bn was directly related to the sub-prime market, with the remainder due to other assets and exposure affected by the credit crisis.

It also saw a $3.1bn increase in consumer credit costs due as people failed to keep up with payments on mortgages, unsecured personal loans, credit cards and auto loans.

Last year, investments and assets based on sub-prime loans quickly soured as higher interest rates pushed up mortgage payments and triggered a wave of defaults.

Banks became more reluctant to lend to each other as the scale of bad debts remained unknown, leading to a shortage of credit worldwide.

The credit crunch resulted in the collapse of US banking giant Bear Stearns and is being felt in the wider economy as consumers pare back debt-fuelled spending and grapple with higher mortgage payments.

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