Page last updated at 10:04 GMT, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Standard Chartered defies gloom

Standard Chartered branch front
Standard is big in emerging markets

Standard Chartered bank, which focuses on Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has defied the gloom afflicting the sector by reporting a rise in profits.

The bank said pre-tax profit for 2008 was $4.8bn (3.4bn), up 19% compared with a year earlier.

Standard Chartered said that it was on a "firm footing" for 2009.

However, it warned that its core markets, which have so far proved more resilient to the credit crisis, were beginning to feel the heat.

John Peace, acting chairman of Standard Chartered, said last year's turmoil on the financial markets had been "truly extraordinary" and an extreme test for the banking industry.

UK BANK RESULTS FOR 2008
HSBC: $9.3bn (6.5bn) profit
RBS: 24.1bn loss
Lloyds TSB (*): 807m profit
HBOS (*): 10.8bn loss
Standard Chartered: $4.8bn (3.4bn) profit
Northern Rock: 1.4bn loss
(* - Lloyds TSB and HBOS now merged in Lloyds Banking Group)

"The uncertainty and the contraction of economies will continue this year and the situation may even worsen," he said.

"Our markets are now seeing the effects of the crisis," he added.

The company said its focus on Asia and its prudent attitude to liquidity and costs had helped it to weather the storm.

"While Asian banks are feeling the stress, as dollar liquidity dries up and the credit environment deteriorates, they are on the whole in much better shape than many counterparts in the West," said chief executive Peter Sands

"The ingredients of the banking crisis in the UK and the US, the over-leverage, over-complexity and opacity, are not present to nearly the same extent," he added.



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