Operating income continues to be stable at Ithmaar Bank at BD36.8 million, despite a significant compression of margins in overseas subsidiary due to a 300 basis points cut in benchmark profit rates. However, a net loss of BD2.8m was announced for the first six months of the year, compared with a profit of BD583,000 in the same period last year. According to Bank chairman Prince Amr Al Faisal, the bank continues to focus on cost control after total expenses were reduced by about 4.5 per cent in the first 6 months of the year. Murabaha and other financings increased by 1.6pc to BD1.19 billion in the first half as compared to BD1.17bn a year ago. Liquid assets, comprising cash, balances and commodity placements with banks, financial and other institutions, now represent about 13pc of the balance sheet. The bank continues on its board-approved retail business focus with the objective of becoming the region's premier Islamic retail bank.