KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait’s Central Bank stepped in Sunday to prop up one of the country’s biggest banks and said it was considering guaranteeing deposits in domestic banks — in one of the first concrete signs that the global financial crisis may next hit the oil-rich Gulf.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, the government said it would deposit $2.7 billion into the Saudi Credit Bank to help lower-income citizens deal with financial difficulties, the country’s Al-Ektisadiya newspaper reported.

The two moves came just a day after finance ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council held an emergency meeting to echo assurances, which they have repeatedly voiced over the past few weeks, that the region’s banks face no liquidity crisis.

Kuwait’s decision to stop trading in shares of Gulf Bank sent a shock wave through the country’s bourse, which closed down almost 3.5 percent and brought its year-to-date losses to over 19 percent.

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