HSBC profits halved as virus batters global economy

Published: April 28, 2020  Updated: April 28, 2020 at 6:58 am EST

HSBC on Tuesday said first quarter pre-tax profits almost halved as the banking giant was battered by the global coronavirus pandemic while it embarked on a major restructuring.

The lender reported pre-tax profits of $3.2 billion, down 48% from the same period in 2019, citing credit losses from clients struck by the economic slowdown as a major cause.

“The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our customers has been the main driver of the change in our financial performance since the turn of the year,” newly confirmed CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement.

Reported expected credit losses in the first quarter of the year were $3 billion – $2.4 billion more than the first quarter of 2019 and the bank’s biggest bad loan bundle in almost nine years.

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