Tuesday 21 May 2019

Trade war fears overshadow solid Standard Chartered results

The lender warned that tensions between China and Donald Trump’s US are starting to bite.

Standard Chartered has warned over trade wars (David Cheskin/PA)
Standard Chartered has warned over trade wars (David Cheskin/PA)

By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor

Standard Chartered has posted a healthy rise in third-quarter profits, but warned that “escalating trade tension” are affecting sentiment in its core emerging markets.

For the three months to the end of September, the Asia-focused bank reported underlying pre-tax profit of 1.1 billion US dollars (£864 million), up 31% from 814 million US dollars (£639 million) the year before.

Operating income came in at 3.72 billion US dollars (£2.9 billion), up 4%.

However, the firm warned that tensions linked to a trade war between China and Donald Trump’s US are starting to bite.

“Escalating trade tension and other macroeconomic factors impacting equity markets affected retail investor sentiment during the period in some of the group’s markets, which slowed the rate of growth in wealth management,” Standard Chartered said.

Income from wealth management income in the quarter sipped from 488 million US dollars (£382.5 million) to 465 million US dollars (E364.5 million).

FTSE 100-listed Standard Chartered is one of the most exposed to worsening relations between the two superpowers as it books a large chunk of its business in Asia.

The US has imposed tariffs on 250 billion US dollars (£196 billion) worth of Chinese goods, with the Asian power retaliating with 110 billion US dollars (£86.2 billion) of duties on US goods.

Standard Chartered chief executive Bill Winters (Standard Chartered/PA)

Chief executive Bill Winters chose to focus on the numbers but touched on “geopolitical uncertainties”.

“The results for the first nine months of the year reflect our focus on significantly improving profitability, balance sheet quality, conduct and financial returns,” he said.

“Income growth year on year was slightly lower in the third quarter, impacted by Africa and the Middle East, and we remain alert to broader geopolitical uncertainties that have affected sentiment in some of our markets.”

Press Association

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