HSBC, Europe’s largest bank, raised its profit by 117.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021 to 3.88 billion dollars (3.214 billion euros).
CEO Noel Quinn said the figures reflect the “good start to the year”, highlighting the fall in expected credit losses, which the company attributes to the improved economic outlook.
Between January and March, turnover fell by 5.1% to $12,986 million (10,756 million euros), which HSBC blames mainly on the impact of interest rate cuts over 2020 on its global business.
In the geographic breakdown, the bank focuses on pre-tax profits, which in its main market, Asia, rose slightly by 0.5% to 3,758 million dollars (3,113 million euros), while in Europe it managed to recover its losses and posted a gross profit of 997 million dollars (856 million euros).
HSBC posted a positive result in all the regions where it operates, also managing to exit losses in North America and multiplying its pre-tax profits in Latin America by three times and in the Middle East and North Africa region by almost eight times.
The Tier 1 capital ratio was 15.9% at the end of March, unchanged from the end of the previous quarter but 1.3 p.p. higher than at the same time last year.
The loan portfolio contracted by an imperceptible 0.01% to USD 1.04 trillion (EUR 861,499 million).
More notable was the 14.5 % rise in total deposits to USD 1.65 trillion (EUR 1.37 trillion).
The group already announced in February that it did not intend to pay quarterly dividends this year, although the board will consider paying a half-yearly amount when it publishes its results for the first half of 2021.
Looking ahead to this year, Quinn welcomes the “good momentum” with which the bank faces the second quarter, but warns that there are still “uncertainties” that make HSBC opt for “conservative” positions in terms of capital, funding, liquidity and credit.