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HSBC profit hit by surge in bad debts

Global banking giant HSBC said on Monday at its result meeting in Hong Kong that its first-half pre-tax profit fell by 51 percent to 5 billion U.S. dollars as bad debts jumped in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Net profit slumped 57 percent to 3.35 billion U.S. dollars as impairment charges and other credit provisions soared by 39 percent to 13.9 billion in the six months to June, compared with the figure in the same period of last year, HSBC said in a statement.

By region, all markets were profitable except the United States, where the pre-tax loss widened to 3.7 billion US dollars from 2.89 billion U.S. dollars a year earlier.

The bank was cautiously optimistic on economic prospects.

"It may be that we have passed, or are about to pass, the bottom of the cycle in the financial markets," said Chairman Stephen Green at the interim result meeting held in Hong Kong, adding that the timing, shape and scale of any recovery in the wider economy, however, remains highly uncertain.

The bank said its Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of balance sheet strength, improved to 10.1 percent at the end of June, up from 8.3 percent at the end of December, helped by the bank's 12.5 billion pounds rights issue in April.


 Source : Xinhua  Editor: Ivy
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