Citigroup Inc. will provide emergency support to seven structured-investment vehicles, adding $49 billion in assets and depleting the financial conglomerate’s capital base, according to the Wall Street Journal.The action could relieve the growing anxiety in credit markets that SIVs could be forced into selling assets at reduced prices, but increases pressure on Citigroup, which is facing massive losses after this summer’s global credit crunch.

SIVs were created to operate separately from banks by issuing short-term debt to investors and using the funds to purchase higher-yielding assets. After the subprime mortgage meltdown this summer, SIVs have been forced to sell assets in order to pay off maturing debt.

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