StanChart is boosted by Asian growth

STANDARD Chartered reported &ldquo;good progress&rdquo; in its third quarter trading update yesterday, but called for caution in the banking sector.<br /><br />The UK-based, Asian-focused bank said it had performed particularly strongly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its stock closed up 3.7 per cent at 1,537p after the bank&rsquo;s announcement, giving it a market value of &pound;31bn.<br /><br />Analysts estimate the bank will report an operating profit of &pound;3bn in 2009 &ndash; with the strength of the wholesale banking sector helping to boost figures. On the consumer side, the bank said mortgages have performed well, especially in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and India.<br /><br />Chief executive Peter Sands said: &ldquo;It remains too early to call a sustained recovery and we remain cautious on the outlook. However, it is ever clearer that our markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East are emerging more quickly and stronger than a number of markets in the West.&rdquo; <br /><br />He also said Standard Chartered&rsquo;s balance sheet and liquidity remains strong while the bank confirmed it wants to list in India in the second quarter of next year.<br /><br />Standard Chartered said in August it would hire 850 people for its private banking division, which serves wealthy clients in Asia. The bank hasn&rsquo;t taken a government bailout.