HSBC, the first of Britain’s big banks to announce first-quarter earnings, on Tuesday posted a 79% jump in profit for the quarter ending March 31.

Europe’s biggest lender said profit before-tax-came in at $5.8 billion, beating the $3.4 billion expectation of analysts polled by the bank. It also dramatically cut back the amount it set aside to handle bad debts stemming from the pandemic to $400 million from $3 billion set aside in the first quarter last year.

Here are the key numbers:

Revenue: $13.2 billion versus $12 billion last quarter

Earnings per share: $0.19 versus $0.03 last quarter

Profit before tax: $5.8 billion versus $3.2 billion a year ago

“I am pleased with our revenue and cost performance, but particularly with our significantly lower expected credit losses,” CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement. “The economic outlook has improved, although uncertainties remain. We carry good momentum into the second quarter, while maintaining conservative positions on capital, funding, liquidity and credit.”

The bank, which gets most of its revenue from Asia, said all regions were profitable in the quarter. The UK unit was a standout performer, bringing in reported pre-tax profits of more than $1 billion, compared to $369 million a year ago. Quarterly revenue fell 5% to $13 billion, but was still higher than expectations for $12.6 billion.

The investment banking division also benefited from strong equity trading, lifting its revenue by 55%.

HSBC’s first-quarter profit plunged by half in 2020 after increasing credit losses against the raging COVID-19 pandemic, heightening concern that the global financial system was at risk. HSBC’s London-listed shares rose 2.3% in mid-morning European trading.

Share.

Comments are closed.