StanChart's first-half earnings hit by tough conditions in financial markets

Standard Chartered Bank's performance in the first half of the year was affected by muted global trade sentiment, regulatory changes and weak commodity prices. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Standard Chartered Bank's performance in the first half of the year was affected by muted global trade sentiment, regulatory changes and weak commodity prices. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Standard Chartered Bank's performance in the first half of the year was affected by muted global trade sentiment, regulatory changes and weak commodity prices.

The bank's Singapore branch reported income of US$1.035 billion (S$1.3 billion), 8 per cent lower than the same period last year.

It posted an operating profit of US$455 million in the six months ended Jun 30, down 5 per cent over last year.

In a statement yesterday, StanChart says its earnings and income were also affected by a 54 per cent decrease in Own Account Income. This refers to the bank's trading income, which has been affected by the challenging conditions in the financial markets.

Despite this, the bank's "fundamentals remain robust and the franchise continues to be backed by a strong balance sheet".

Its client income went up 1 per cent over last year, and contributed more than 90 per cent of the franchise's total income. Customer loans also went up by 11 per cent, while deposits rose 5 per cent.

Expenses came in at US$551 million, a decrease of 10 per cent over last year.

Property market cooling measures, enhancements to credit rules, and the recent Personal Data Protection Act had a combined impact on lending and sales, said the bank's chief executive Neeraj Swaroop, who described this as a "challenging period".

"Despite these changes amid intense competition, our franchise in Singapore remains profitable, with a strong balance sheet, well-managed costs and we continue to be the second largest contributor to group income and profit," he added.