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Credit squeeze loosening, embattled Citi head claims

Citigroup chief Vikram Pandit believes that the worst effects of the global credit crisis have now passed.

Speaking at a fractious annual meeting of the bank, Mr Pandit claimed that "we are closer to the end" than to the beginning of the crunch.

Citi has been particularly badly hit by write-downs caused by the drying-up of liquidity on the money markets - with total reported losses so far at the firm passing $30 billion.

A $5.1 billion loss for the first quarter was announced by the bank last week - along with plans to cut 9,000 jobs internally.

"The actions we have taken are firmly rooted in our belief in accountability," Mr Pandit claimed at the New York meeting, where the bank's board faced a grilling from shareholders.

A proposal designed to curb executive pay at Citi also garnered over 30 per cent support from attendees.

The bank's shares currently trade at a price 55 per cent lower than that of the end of 2006, Bloomberg reports.