Standard Chartered's profit rebounded in the first quarter, lifting the bank's shares by 10 percent, as reduced loan losses offered signs of a turnaround following a loss-making 2015. Sonia Legg reports
Investors have been bracing for the worst - with weak first quarter results expected from many of Europe's main banks. But first up - Standard Chartered - wasn't as bad as feared. Pre-tax-profit rebounded to $589 million dollars from a previous loss of $4.4 billion. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FXPRO, HEAD OF RESEARCH, SIMON SMITH, SAYING: "I think they can take some comfort from that but I don't necessarily think that what you see is Standard Chartered is a bellwether for the rest of the industry. Naturally the challenges facing US and European banks are much different to Standard Chartered in terms of regulatory and policy." Last year Standard Chartered suffered its first full year annual loss in 26 years. Hefty restructuring costs and weak commodity prices were partly to blame at the Asia-focussed bank. This year - first quarter income was still down 24 percent from this time last year. But at $3.3 billion it was broadly stable and operating expenses were also down. Its UK peers may not be so positive. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FXPRO, HEAD OF RESEARCH, SIMON SMITH, SAYING: "When you are in a situation where you are facing pressure from a regulatory side and the market side it's hugely difficult for banks to make money when you are falling into ever more unconventional policy measures from central banks be that from the European Central Bank, but also in Japan." Standard Chartered enjoyed a 10 percent share boost after the results. But CEO Bill Winters warned against predicting the outlook for the rest of the year saying the trading environment remained uncertain.