Slumping emerging stock markets caused the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to suffer a net loss of 602 million euros last year.
The bank was set up to help former communist countries in eastern Europe make the transition to market economies. It invests mainly in the private sector. European shares finished in the red. Traders cited renewed fears over the outlook for Eastern Europe after Standard and Poor’s downgraded its rating on Ukraine and said it expects more such downgrades this year. The region’s markets tracked Wall Street lower. US shares were hit by disappointment that President Obama in a major speech to the US Congress shed little new light on how his administration would stabilise the economy. European banks cut their earlier gains and telecoms and pharmaceutical shares were under pressure.