Friday, May 29, 2015   

Standard Chartered Q1 income hit by weak Asian currencies
(05-08 18:41)

Asia-focused banking giant Standard Chartered (2888) said Thursday first quarter profit was hit by weak Asian currencies and ongoing problems with its South Korean operations.
"The difficult market conditions that began last year have continued into the first quarter of 2014 and remain through April and into May,'' the London-based lender said in a statement to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, AFP reports.
Group operating profit in the first quarter was down by a "high single digit percentage'' compared with the same period last year, it said.
Group income was down by a "low single digit percentage'' compared with the period a year earlier, hit mainly by weakness in the Indian rupee and Indonesian rupiah, the bank said.
Standard Chartered does not release actual quarterly figures.
"Despite a somewhat challenging external environment, we continue to support our clients' growth, whilst managing tightly our costs, risks and capital,'' group chief executive Peter Sands said in the statement.
"Our performance so far this year is in line with our expectations,'' Sands said, adding that the group's margins have stabilized.
Breaking down the group's business segments, Sands said income from consumer banking for the period was down by a single-digit figure year-on-year while its wholesale banking income was flat during the period.
Excluding South Korea, where income is down by some US$110 million year-on-year, the group's income was flat on last year, Sands said.
The lender, which makes 90 percent of its profits in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, said in March net profit fell more than 16 percent last year to US$3.99 billion and warned of a difficult first half of 2014.
The bank said then its South Korean retail bank had suffered a US$1.0 billion write-down in its value, and produced lower revenue with higher bad loans during the year.
Standard Chartered shares closed at HK$170 in Hong Kong, up HK$1.30, or 0.77 percent.   
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