HSBC profits fall 20% in first quarter on subdued trading


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The Independent Online

HSBC has reported profits declined by a fifth in the first three months of the year, as earnings from its investment arm fell and trading in its key Asian countries was soft.

Europe's largest bank said pre-tax profits dropped by 20 per cent to $6.8 billion (£4 billion) in the first quarter, but this partly reflected one-off gains of $741 million in the same period a year ago.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who has been slimming down the bank for the last couple of years, said: “Whilst revenue was lower than the previous year’s first quarter, we have seen progress in revenue over the trailing quarters. Loan impairment charges fell, reflecting the changes to the portfolio since 2011.”

He added: “We continued to experience muted customer activity in April.” The bank put aside another $83 million for mis-selling PPI in the UK, down from $164 a  year ago. HSBC shares slipped 6.3p  to 598p.

Société Générale, France’s second largest bank, has taken a €525 million (£430 million) writedown on its Russian business, Rosbank, on the back of the Ukrainian crisis.