HSBC first quarter profits fall by a fifth

Business & Economy 04 May 2017
HSBC first quarter profits fall by a fifth

HSBC first quarter profits down 19% but beat expectations

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver hails a "good set of results" with the bank's earnings improving on an underlying basis.

Image: HSBC warned earlier this year about the impact of political events

By John-Paul Ford Rojas, Business Reporter

HSBC's profits fell by 19% to $4.96bn (£3.85bn) in the first quarter but the bank said it was a good performance as it enjoyed a boost from increased economic activity.

The result was better than expected with the decline blamed on one-off accounting changes and underlying profits ahead by 12%.

Shares rose more than 1% in Hong Kong.

The figures come after the London-based global lender warned in February of the challenges posed by Brexit and Donald Trump's presidency as it reported a 62% fall in earnings for 2016.

HSBC chief executive Stuart Gulliver struck a positive tone this time, saying: "This is a good set of results."

He said the lender enjoyed strong performances in its global banking and markets division, plus commercial banking as well as retail and wealth management.

Mr Gulliver added: "We continued to grow lending in support of increased economic activity in the quarter, particularly in commercial banking in Hong Kong and the UK."

But there was a fall in profits for HSBC's private banking division which is undergoing a shake-up.

HSBC said it had made progress on its cost saving programme, which was ramped up at the time of annual results earlier this year.

The London-based bank is in the midst of a revamp in which it is shedding thousands of workers and shifting more of its focus towards Asia.

It confirmed earlier this year that it may have to move 1,000 roles from London to Paris due to Brexit over the next couple of years.

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