Romanian stock exchange halts regular trading

Bucharest Stock ExchangeBucharest - Romania's Bucharest Stock Exchange halted regular trading Friday for the second time this week, as the massive global sell-off hit Eastern Europe's fastest-growing economy.

Seeking to stem panic selling, exchange officials blocked transactions right at the start of Friday's session and drastically shortened the trading day to 15 minutes, news reports said.

Otherwise, the broad-based BET-C index would have plunged 15 per cent after the latest share plunge on Wall Street and in Asian markets, said Stere Farmache, the exchange's general manager.

Traders were allowed to feed orders into the electronic system, but transactions would be executed only in the last 15 minutes of the trading day, the Mediafax news agency reported.

Wednesday's session in the Romanian capital was cut short after its main indices dropped more than 10 per cent.

The BET-C has shed about 60 per cent of its value this year, with property companies among the hardest hit.

Ex-communist Romania, which joined the European Union last year along with neighbouring Bulgaria, has posted high economic growth in recent years thanks to foreign investment and a consumer credit boom. (dpa)

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