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Tue 18 Feb 2020 02:52 PM

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HSBC in 'strong position' in Middle East despite global drop in profits

Banking giant reveals plans to strengthen business in Middle East and Asia

HSBC in 'strong position' in Middle East despite global drop in profits
HSBC has recently opened a new regional headquarters in the UAE.

Global banking giant HSBC is in a “strong position” to capitalise on opportunities in the Middle East, according to the company’s acting CEO Noel Quinn.

This is despite Tuesday’s announcement of plans to slash 35,000 jobs over the next three years and slim operations in the United States and Europe, after profits slid by a third last year.

HSBC reported pre-tax profits last year of $13.3 billion, 33 percent down on 2018, largely thanks to a $7.3bn one-time write-off related to its investment and commercial banking business in Europe.

In the Middle East, the bank reported a 17.4 percent increase in profits to $2.327bn.

Quinn told a global media call: “In the Middle East, we’re in a strong position to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.”

The company announcement also revealed plans to “accelerate investments” in Asia (which accounted for half of HSBC’s revenue and 90 percent of the group's profit in recent years - adjusted profit before tax in Asia last year was up six percent to $18.6bn) and the Middle East and to “shift more resources to that region”.

The announcement added: “We intend to strengthen our transaction banking capabilities in Asia and the Middle East, while maintaining a global investment hub in London.”

HSBC has been trying to lower costs as it faces a multitude of uncertainties caused by the grinding US-China trade war, Britain's departure from the European Union and now the deadly new coronavirus in China.

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