The turmoil in the global financial market is turning to be a leveller of sorts.
Two years ago, Citigroup Inc was worth several times the entire family of Indian banks. On Monday, it joined the list of iconic — yet collapsing — banks trying to stay afloat on government money, and now it's worth less than the combined market value of State Bank of India and ICICI Bank.
Citi's shares slumped 60 per cent through last week to close at $3.77 and its market value plunged to $20.5 billion, or around Rs 100,000 crore. That’s a fraction of its value at the beginning of 2007, when Citigroup shares traded at $50 and its market capitalisation was about $270 billion (over Rs 1,250,000 crore), or four times the size of Indian banks listed on the stock market.
Citigroup’s shares have been under pressure since the financial crisis in its home country got from bad to worse earlier this year and the American bank saw billions of dollars in debt it held turn into toxic assets.
Its hopes to stage a comeback now rest on help from the US government, which on Monday agreed to inject $20 billion of new capital. It also effectively guaranteed most of Citigroup's potential $306 billion losses on high-risk assets.