Standard Chartered's first-half net profit down 24 per cent

HONG KONG (AFP) - Standard Chartered on Tuesday said its first-half net profit fell 24 per cent, with some of its businesses in emerging Asian markets seeing slower growth.

The London-based, Asia-focused bank said net profit fell to US$2.13 billion (S$2.71 billion) for the six months to June 30, from US$2.81 billion in the same period last year.

Operating income went up four per cent to reach US$9.75 billion from US$9.37 billion in the previous year.

However, the emerging markets-focused bank was hit by a weak performance in Korea with revenue falling five per cent in the first half.

The bank posted a goodwill impairment of US$1 billion in Korea, representing a lower value of assets in the country.

The bank's performance was also affected by weak numbers in Singapore where profits fell 12 per cent, but saw improvements in its African market where profits were up 10 per cent for the reported period.

"This year markets like Hong Kong, India and Africa delivered impressive growth, whilst Korea, Singapore and Other Asia Pacific faltered," Group Chief Executive Peter Sands said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

He said the group will not target a double digit revenue growth for 2013 due to uncertainty and "growing turbulence" in the global economy.

In the same statement, chairman John Peace said bank's business remained "robust" with "strong opportunities" in its global footprint.

"The external environment will remain challenging for the foreseeable future, but we are in the right markets and have the right strategy in place to deliver growth," Mr Peace said.

Shares in the global banking giant HSBC slumped nearly five per cent in Hong Kong on Tuesday a day after it announced a 22 per cent rise in half-year net profits, falling short of analysts' expectations.

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