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Foreign Exchange

FX news: Interim results for Barclays, Standard Chartered, RBS & Lloyds

Of the interim results published in the second half of the week it was the Barclays Capital figures that impressed most. FICC income for the first half of 2010 was £4.948 billion. While this was a 40% decline relative to the more volatile first half of 2009, it is the only set of results that bears any sort of comparison with figures for the major US banks. For example, Goldman Sachs’s FICC revenue for the year to the end of June is $21.75 billion (£13.7 billion), compared with BarCap’s FICC revenue for the same period of £10.4 billion.

Standard Chartered is still a British bank, despite its grumblings that the UK may not be the best place for its headquarters. It includes FX income under ‘Financial Markets’ (FM), which “primarily comprises sales and trading of exchange and interest rate products and over the period has seen diversification of income streams, with increased contributions from commodity, equity and credit derivatives”. For the half year to end-June 2010, FM income was $1.711 billion, compared with $2.036 billion and $1.275 billion for the first and second halves of 2009. The notes to the results do have a specific mention of FX: “Income in the Foreign Exchange and Rates businesses, whilst lower than the first half of 2009, was higher than the latter half of 2009 with higher volumes helping to partially offset the margin compression.”

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