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HSBC kicks off year with jump in Q1 profits

Europe’s biggest lender bounced back

HSBC has beaten analysts’ expectations to post a 79% rise in pre-tax profit of $5.8 billion (£4.18bn) in the first quarter against a forecast $3.34bn (£2.41bn).

Revenue fell 5% to $13bn (£9.37bn), due to the impact of 2020 interest rate reductions in global businesses.

Europe’s largest lender said all regions were profitable in the first quarter, with HSBC UK Bank reporting a pre-tax profit of $1bn (£0.72bn).

However, its investment bank failed to keep pace with Wall Street rivals during a stellar start to the year for the sector.

Noel Quinn, group chief executive, said: “We had a good start to the year in support of our customers, while achieving materially enhanced returns for our shareholders.

“Global Banking and Markets had a good quarter, and we saw solid business growth in strategic areas, including Asia Wealth and trade finance, and mortgages in Hong Kong and the UK.”

Expected credit losses were down to $400 million (£290m), compared with a $3.0bn (£2.16bn) charge in the first quarter of 2020.

HSBC said there would be no quarterly dividend as previously announced in the 2020 annual results, but an interim dividend would be considered ahead of the half-year results in August.

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