Stan Chart in line for $6bn

STANDARD Chartered stayed on track to deliver around $6bn (£4bn) in full-year pre-tax profits yesterday as it said its consumer and wholesale divisions traded strongly in the first half.

The London-listed bank, which focuses on Asia, said improving economic conditions and client confidence meant income and profits ran at record levels for the five months to May, discounting an exceptional gain of $248m. Income on a reported basis for the first half is expected to be flat year-on-year, but growing at a double-digit rate on the second half of 2009.

Client income in wholesale banking was up 20 per cent year-on-year, although competitive pressures squeezed margins. Consumer banking income edged up year-on-year, with mortgage income and wealth management fees rising.

In a trading update ahead of its interim results, Standard Chartered emphasised its balance sheet had “limited exposure to problem asset classes, and no direct exposure to sovereign debt in southern Europe.”

Chief executive Peter Sands said: “Recent market volatility has had an impact on sentiment. Despite this, we are performing well.”

Ian Gordon, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, said: “A good statement was anticipated, a good performance has been confirmed. There’s not so much upside now which is why we’ve seen people taking profits.”

Shares in Standard Chartered fell 1.84 per cent to 1710p.