The bank’s operations in Asia, where one in two people bank with HSBC, posted a pre-tax profit of $9.2bn (£6.1bn) for 2009 – which, though it fell eight per cent from 2008, was a figure analysts said was robust in a tough interest rate environment.
It was also well ahead of HSBC’s overall pre-tax profit of $7.1bn, which was hit by a goodwill impairment charge on its beleaguered US consumer finance business. Underlying profits rose 56 per cent to $13.3bn.
“In 2010, we expect GDP in emerging markets to grow by over six per cent, while the developed world struggles to reach two per cent,” said chief executive Michael Geoghegan, who moved to Hong Kong in January.
HSBC’s results were also boosted by a $10.5bn profit haul in global banking and markets. Group impairments rose nine per cent to $26.5bn, while HSBC also strengthened its tier one capital ratio to 10.8 per cent.
• Fellow Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered, led by chief executive Peter Sands, is expected to post a record annual underlying profit up 20 per cent to $5bn tomorrow.
Standard Chartered, like HSBC, did not take any UK government bail out money and generates the majority of revenues outside Britain.