British bank Standard Chartered said Wednesday its pre-tax profit for the three months that ended in September grew 16% but warned about growing headwinds including falling global growth rates.
Pre-tax profit came at $1.24 billion versus the $1.07 billion reported last year. Net profit for the quarter was $772 million, increasing 3% from the $752 million Standard Chartered reported a year ago.
Here are some of the main highlights for the third quarter:
- Net interest income: $2.39 billion vs. $2.19 billion a year ago
- Net interest margin, a measure of lending profitability: 1.56% vs. 1.56% a year ago
- Operating expenses: $2.50 billion vs. $2.51 billion a year ago
- Common Equity Tier 1 ratio, a measurement of a bank’s financial strength: 13.5% vs. 14.5% a year ago
Basic earnings per share was 26.6 cents, up 4.4% from 22.2 cents a year ago.
Standard Chartered’s Hong Kong-listed shares rose 2.81%.
On Monday, rival HSBC, which is Europe’s largest lender, reported third-quarter pre-tax profits fell 18% from a year ago, despite strength in its Asia operations.
Standard Chartered earlier this year announced plans to increase returns and dividends over the next three years by cutting $700 million in cost and targeting income growth between 5% to 7%.
Commenting on the bank’s quarterly performance on Wednesday, Group CEO Bill Winters said: “Our strategy of the last few years has progressively created a stronger and more resilient business as evidenced by a 16% increase in underlying profits in the third quarter. The continuing execution of that strategy remains our priority, enabling us to face the more challenging external environment confidently.”
Standard Chartered is headquartered in London but it focuses on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East – Greater China and North Asia contribute the largest portion of the bank’s income by region.
For the third quarter, Greater China and North Asia brought in $1.58 billion, a 2% increase on-year. The bank said its income grew in Hong Kong, Korea, and China.
Several factors have recently affected the business outlook in that region. They include a slowdown in China’s economy, the impact of an ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington, as well as widespread and increasingly violent demonstrations in Hong Kong since June. Those protests have affected many of the city’s small and medium-sized businesses.
Standard Chartered said its corporate and institutional banking operating income grew 13% to $1.87 billion, retail banking was up 4% from a year ago to $1.32 billion. Private banking income increased by 14%.
For its outlook, the bank said it continues “to focus on executing our strategy with the objective of delivering a 10% return on tangible equity by 2021” but flagged “growing headwinds” such as geopolitical tensions and expectations of “declining near-term global growth and interest rates.”
HSBC on Monday said it no longer expects to reach its return target of more than 11% in 2020, owing to a challenging revenue environment.