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Standard Chartered has reported an almost doubling of first-quarter profits, raising hopes among investors about how soon the emerging markets bank can be turned round.
Having slumped to its second heavy annual loss last year, StanChart said market conditions remained highly competitive but it benefited from “particularly low loan impairment and a continuing focus on cost control”.
Shares in the London-listed bank, which have gained 40 per cent in the past year, rose 3.3 per cent to 752p on Wednesday morning.
StanChart, which operates across Asia, the Middle East and Africa, reported a statutory pre-tax profit of $990m, compared with a profit of $500m in the same period last year, excluding its private equity arm which is being wound down.
The bank’s operating expenses rose 3 per cent to $2.1bn. Revenues were up 8 per cent at $3.6bn. Loan impairments shrank 58 per cent to $198m.
StanChart is the first of the big UK banks to report quarterly results this week, followed on Thursday by Lloyds Banking Group, on Friday by Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland and next week by HSBC.
The bank suffered a tough few years after being fined by US regulators for sanctions breaches in 2012 and incurring heavy losses on risky loans to some large Asian clients that turned bad.
It is rebuilding under Bill Winters, who took over as chief executive in 2015 and set about restructuring a third of its loan book, stripping out 30 per cent of its annual cost base, suspending its dividend and slashing thousands of jobs.