Home News HSBC reports ‘record profit’ of $30.3 bn in 2023

HSBC reports ‘record profit’ of $30.3 bn in 2023

HSBC said Wednesday it achieved "record profit" in 2023 as pre-tax gains soared by nearly 80 percent, with the banking giant also announcing further share buybacks.

AFP

The Asia-focused lender and its peers have been buoyed by rising interest rates for more than a year, but are bracing for greater economic uncertainties in 2024.

The bank generates most of its revenue in Asia and has spent several years pivoting to the region, vowing to develop its wealth business and target fast-growing markets.

Despite bumper profits, HSBC noted the effects of China’s slower-than-expected economic recovery after the Covid-19 pandemic as well as heightened geopolitical tensions.

The firm reported pre-tax profits of $30.3 billion, up from $17.1 billion the year before, in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Profit after tax increased by $8.3 billion, to $24.6 billion.

“Our record profit performance in 2023 enabled us to reward our shareholders with our highest full-year dividend since 2008,” said chief executive Noel Quinn.

The bank also said Wednesday that it would initiate a share buyback of up to $2 billion, following the announcement last year of three share buybacks totalling $7 billion.

“This reflected four years of hard work and the strength of our balance sheet in a higher interest rate environment,” Quinn added.

HSBC said the profits included a “favourable year-on-year impact” of $2.5 billion due to the sale of its French retail banking operations, as well as a $1.6 billion provisional gain recognised on its acquisition of Silicon Valley Bank UK.

The profits were partly offset by an impairment charge related to the investment of its associate, China’s Bank of Communications.

Revenue rose by 30 percent to $66.1 billion, HSBC said, citing “rises in all of our global businesses due to the higher interest rate environment”.

Shares of HSBC in Hong Kong dipped by more than three percent at the start of afternoon trading on Wednesday.

Quinn said the bank remains “confident in the resilience of the Chinese economy, and the growth opportunities in mainland China over the medium to long term”.

Group chairman Mark Tucker noted that China’s recovery after reopening was “bumpier than expected”, and that the five percent growth target of the world’s second-largest economy is expected to be maintained this year.

HSBC reported expected credit losses of $3.4 billion in 2023, which included charges “notably related to mainland China commercial real estate exposures”.

China’s property market woes have continued to weigh down the country’s economic growth, with the most debt-ridden developer Evergrande recently handed a liquidation order in a Hong Kong court.

HSBC forecasted a net interest income of at least $41 billion in 2024, while it continued to target a return on average tangible equity in the mid-teens.

“While our outlook for loan growth remains cautious for the first half of 2024, we continue to expect year-on-year customer lending percentage growth in the mid-single digits over the medium to long term,” the bank added.

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