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İstanbul exchange shuts for first time in 24 years

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The İstanbul stock exchange announced on Wednesday that it would close for five days in response to this week’s deadly earthquake, the first such shutdown since 1999, Agence France-Presse reported.

Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor ravaged swathes of southeastern Turkey and Syria, killing at least 11,700 people and leaving thousands more homeless in the winter cold.

The exchange cited an “increase in volatility and extraordinary price movements after the earthquake disaster” in its decision.

The exchange suffered sharp losses before suspending trading on Wednesday morning.

“Considering the low transaction volume that does not allow efficient price formation, all trades executed in the closed markets on February 8, 2023 will be cancelled,” it added, noting it would remain closed until the evening of February 14.

The last time it suspended trading was after a 1999 quake which killed more than 17,000 people.

Some politicians called for all trades conducted since the earthquake to be cancelled.

“It’s not enough to close. The trading done on the İstanbul stock exchange since the earthquake should be cancelled,” main opposition party lawmaker Murat Bakan said.

“This would be to protect the rights of 500,000 small investors who are under the rubble, who died or who await rescue and have no access to the internet,” he tweeted.

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