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Standard Chartered delivers ‘strong’ first quarter of 2021

Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter
·1-min read

Banking giant Standard Chartered has hailed a “strong” start to 2021 as it reported profits ahead of analyst expectations.

Shares in the Asia-focused firm ticked higher on Thursday morning after it revealed its pre-tax profits jumped by 18% to 1.4 billion US dollars (£1 billion) in the three months to March.

The profit improvement was significantly driven by the bank setting aside less cash to cover bad loans than it did in the previous year, similar to rivals Lloyds and HSBC, which also boosted profits earlier this week.

It said there was a dramatic drop in its credit impairment to 17 million dollars (£12.2 million) from 962 million dollars (£689.7 million).

Standard Chartered reported that its total income declined by 9% to 3.9 billion dollars (£2.796 billion) for the quarter as it was impacted by the pandemic.

“Despite low interest rates, we expect our underlying momentum to lead to income growth in the second half of 2021.”

It was optimistic about the global economic recovery, telling investors that it expects some of its biggest markets to drive the recovery over the coming months.

The group said it also expects impairment charges to reduce significantly for the 2021 full year.

Bill Winters, group chief executive, said: “Our first-quarter performance was strong.

“Economic recovery advanced in many of our markets, leading to improved transaction volumes and profitability.

“This was particularly the case in our financial markets and in wealth management, which had its best ever quarter.

“Despite low interest rates, we expect our underlying momentum to lead to income growth in the second half of 2021.”

Shares in the business were 5.7% higher at 521.8p after early trading.