May 8 - Standard Chartered has suffered a drop in first-quarter operating profit after the Asia-focussed bank hit trouble in Korea and was hit by bad debt and higher employee costs. Joanna Partridge reports
5% is today's daily digit - the surprise year-on-year drop in first quarter operating profit at Standard Chartered. The London-based bank is Asia-focussed and has notched up record profits for the past 10 years. Trouble in Korea was blamed for the fall, along with increased bad debts, higher wages and the cost of 560 new employees. StanChart's consumer and investment banks were both hit. Its shares slipped over 4.6% in London after its results - making it at one point the worst-performing FTSE100 stock. But the bank remains confident annual profit will still rise in line with 2013 forecasts as revenue bounced back in April. Client numbers are also up. Hong Kong was once again its standout market with income growing more than 10 percent. Income in Africa rose by the same amount. But two issues were due to be raised at this year's AGM. A disagreement over corporate governance involving Singapore investor Temasek and a $670m settlement relating to sanction violations against several countries, including Iran.