Shares of all major banks dipped in the Macedonian stock exchange yesterday after the Central Bank (NBRM) ordered them not to pay out dividends to their shareholders.

The Central Bank explained this order, which also applies to insurance companies, with the need to preserve their liquidity in light of the continued coronavirus crisis. Still, it caused uproar and concerns in financial circles.

Macedonia’s biggest bank, Komercijalna, which is also the only major bank still in largely domestic ownership, planned to distribute 10 EUR per share, or a total of 22.2 million EUR, in dividends. It’s unclear whether the bank will uphold the NBRM order or if it will try to appeal it.

Komercijalna shares dropped by nearly 4 percent yesterday, while the slovenian owned NLB bank dropped by 4.2 percent. Greek owned Stopanska Bank was down under one percent.