HSBC logs 'very good' first quarter, US unit returns to profit

7th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

Global bank giant HSBC said Friday it enjoyed a "very good" performance in the first quarter, aided by falling bad debts and Asia, and its US division returned to profit for the first time since 2007.

"HSBC's financial performance in the first quarter of 2010 was very good and well ahead of the first quarter of 2009, substantially driven by lower loan impairment charges," the bank said in a trading update.

The group, which received no British state bailouts like other rivals, added that underlying pre-tax profits were "comfortably ahead" of the previous figures, boosted by particularly strong demand in Asia.

"Asian economies strengthened further during the quarter and the signs of demand for credit and wealth and investment products, which began in the second half of last year, continued," the bank said.

As a result, pre-tax profits in Hong Kong and the Asia Pacific region were "encouragingly higher" in the three months to March, compared with the same portion of last year.

HSBC added that it was lifted by the recovering United States economy, which helped haul its US banking division back into the black for the first time in three years.

"The US economy continued to show signs of improvement during the quarter," the banking giant said.

"Business confidence increased on the back of stronger manufacturing performance. Low and mid value property prices remained stable. Although unemployment rates remained high, they were lower than expected.

"Against this background, HSBC's US business delivered pre-tax profits for the first time since the second quarter of 2007."

© 2010 AFP

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