‘Unprecedented’ volatility in financial markets: French bank chief

HONG KONG, April 8, 2008 (AFP) – The world’s financial markets remain “exceptionally volatile” due to the subprime credit crisis, the chief executive of France’s largest bank said in Hong Kong on Tuesday. “Since I last presented to the market at the end of February, the environment remains very challenging and the market exceptionally volatile,” Baudouin Prot from BNP Paribas told reporters here.

“Then, through most of March, we saw a worsening of the crisis, with extreme and unprecedented volatility expanding to new asset classes.

“This has created a very adverse trading environment,” he said.

Despite the uncertainty, Prot said BNP was aiming to repeat record revenues from 2007 this year. Last year the bank earned a net profit of 7.8 billion euros (11.6 billion US).

“It is becoming more and more challenging to try to repeat these revenues… But overall we remain still confident,” he said at an event to celebrate the bank’s 50th anniversary in the southern Chinese city.

Prot said that the bank was aiming to triple its revenue from its mainland China operation in the next three years, and double its revenue from its operations in greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong.