Standard Chartered hits record as Asian economies boom

Image caption, Profits are up at Standard Chartered thanks to Asia's booming economies

Standard Chartered has said that it made record profits and income in the first three months of 2010.

The London-based bank, which operates mainly in Asia, said that it "remains in excellent shape".

Standard did not release profit figures for the quarter, but the remarks in its trading update point to a strong 2010.

"Overall, the group has had a very strong start to the year, despite margin headwinds and increasing competitive pressures," the firm said.

In the first half of 2009, Standard's profits were a record $2.84bn (£1.86bn), suggesting profits for the first quarter of that year of about $1.4bn.

The firm's comment on Tuesday that it had "a record quarter in terms of both profit and income" for 2010 indicate it could beat these figures when it reports half-year results later in the year.

Wholesale banking, which includes advisory, trade finance and other investment banking business, saw client income rise by more than 20% on the first quarter of 2009 and contributed more than 80% of wholesale income, the bank said in its statement.

Wholesale banking has driven Standard Chartered's growth in recent years and accounted for over 80% of group profit last year.

Andrew Lim, analyst at financial services group Matrix, said: "Pressure on the wholesale business appears to have continued from what we initially saw at year-end 2009, but we believe this will be more than offset by the recovery in the higher quality consumer business."

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