Standard Chartered bank shakes off credit crunch as profits soar

Aug 12, 2008 (LBO) – Standard Chartered said that its push into Asia, Africa and the Middle East had fuelled a profits surge at the emerging markets bank despite a jump in bad debts caused by the credit crunch, AFP news agency reported. Standard Chartered, Britain’s fourth-biggest retail bank by market value, said in an earnings statement that net profit jumped 32 percent to 1.844 billion dollars (1.19 billion euros) in the first six months of 2008 compared with the same period a year earlier.

“These would be great results in any year; this year, they are exceptional,” the bank’s chairman Mervyn Davies said in the statement.

Standard Chartered said the rise in profits came despite a 35-percent jump in impairment charges, or loans written off, to 491 million dollars in the six months to June 30 compared with the first half of 2007.

While other global banks are posting hefty losses, Standard said it was succeeding thanks to its push into Asia, Africa and the Middle East — markets which are not directly affected by the “liquidity crunch” in the West.

“However our markets are being affected by inflation, high energy and commodity prices and the … consequences of the slowdown in the West,” Standard said in its results s