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Trading suspended in stricken Portugal bank BES


Lisbon stock market authorities on Thursday suspended trading in Banco Espirito Santo until 0900 GMT after the stricken Portuguese bank announced historic losses.

BES posted first-half losses of 3.57 billion euros ($4.78 billion) late on Wednesday.

This was the biggest loss ever reported by a bank in Portugal, due to exposure to the debts of its parent, Espirito Santo Group.

Stock market authorities said the suspension was intended to give investors time to "analyse the statements" from the bank, the biggest private bank in Portugal.

The result, which had been widely anticipated by investors, contrasts with a loss of 237 million euros in the first half of 2013.

The bank also announced provisions for bad debts and unforseen costs totalling 4.25 billion euros. BES revised its direct exposure to Espirito Santo's debt upwards to 1.57 billion euros, including insurance costs.

It had previously said it was exposed to 1.2 billion euros of its parent group's liabilities.

The difficulties in the Espirito Santo group of companies surfaced earlier this year, denting confidence in Portugal's future after it exited a 78 billion euro EU-IMF debt rescue programme.