HSBC’s first-half profits miss expectations as bank sets aside more funds for loan loasses

Finance

A pedestrian walks past illuminated signage for HSBC Holdings Plc displayed outside a bank branch in the Central district of Hong Kong, China.

Anthony Kwan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

HSBC is expected to report a sharp fall in earnings for the first half of 2020 as a result of the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic and lower interest rates globally.

The London-headquartered bank, Europe’s largest by assets, is scheduled to release its financial report for the first six months of this year at 12 p.m. HK/SIN time. Its shares, listed in Hong Kong and London, have plunged by more than 40% this year, according to Refinitiv data.

HSBC’s reported pre-tax profit is forecast to come in at $5.69 billion for the first half of 2020 — or less than half of $12.41 billion that was reported a year ago, according to analyst estimates compiled by the bank.

Revenue for the six months is expected to be around $26.41 billion, roughly 10% lower than the prior year’s $29.37 billion, the estimates showed.  

The bank, which earns most of its profits in Asia, is also expected to provide an update on its restructuring efforts alongside the release of its financial report card.

HSBC Chief Executive Noel Quinn announced in February a plan that would result in a reduction of around 35,000 jobs. The restructuring would include merging its retail banking and wealth management units, cutting its European equity business as well as reducing branch network in the U.S., he said.

The scheduled announcement of the bank’s financial results follows that of other British banks, many of which reported a slide in profits. British bank Standard Chartered, which is also Asia-focused, on Thursday reported a 33% fall in first-half profits to $1.63 billion.

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