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Standard Chartered: Ready for the bounce in a diverse footprint

StanChart had more to lose than most from the disruption of Covid – and more to gain as the markets where it operates recover.

Standard Chartered, like most of its peers, is emerging from the pandemic with both strength and considerable relief. Third-quarter numbers, reported in November, showed pre-tax profit more than doubling year on year, driven by lower credit impairment charges.

“The single most encouraging thing has been the level of underlying client demand in the regions in which we are operating,” Andy Halford, CFO, tells Euromoney. “It is patchy: there have been points when some countries, most notably India four or five months ago, were having a very difficult time with Covid. But fortunately, most countries seem to have bounced back quickly.”

The $107 million credit charge for the third quarter was well down on $353 million a year earlier.

So far so good: given the scale of its footprint, StanChart had more to lose than most from Covid disruption and correspondingly more to gain as the countries within its orbit recover. It is a big deal when StanChart boasts 13% year-on-year growth in transaction banking trade income for Q3, the best quarter since 2018, because trade is so instrumental to what the bank is about.

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