Standard Chartered PLC announced a rise of 9 per cent* in both income and profits to US$9.51 billion and US$3.95 billion respectively for the first half of 2012. This represents a tenth consecutive record first half of profit growth. The diversity of our income from a range of countries, products and services continues to underpin our success. Growth in our footprint markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East remains robust and our extensive network across the major global trade and investment flows continues to provide a key source of competitive advantage. We remain strongly differentiated. One example is our ability to step up investment spend to grab the long term growth opportunities we see across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We are increasing investment in infrastructure, in new branches, and in technology, building out our deposit-gathering network. We aim to have 100 branches in China and India by our full year results next year.
We have also increased investment in mobile and internet channels. For example, Breeze, our suite of award-winning retail banking apps is now available in seven markets. In Consumer Banking we now offer mobile banking in 33 markets, internet banking in 29, and are rolling out new products and services at pace.
We have multiple growth engines with 20 of our markets delivering double digit growth in income. While China has experienced a slowdown, we have good business momentum. We have delivered 22 per cent income growth during the first half and have no exposure to local government investment vehicles and our corporate real estate exposure is minimal.
Hong Kong has finished the first half strongly, achieving double digit income growth over the comparable period in 2011, while Singapore delivered a 6 per cent increase and Korea income was up 13 per cent. India income is down 12 per cent in the first half reflecting exchange rates and a difficult operating environment, albeit income is up 2 per cent on a constant currency basis. We continue to see competitive advantage from the geographic spread of our business.
In the UK, Europe and the Americas, our strength as a trade and commercial bank has allowed us to assist Western clients to access the growth markets of Asia and Asian clients to invest in the West; income from this region has increased by 26 per cent year on year resulting in a 90 per cent rise in operating profit. We are acting as a bridge between East and West, demonstrating our strategy, product capability and expertise to meet the needs of our international clients. Our long history in Africa positions us at the heart of commodity trade flows between Asia and Africa. We currently have 183 branches across 14 markets and we anticipate that we will have some 250 branches within the next couple of years.
We’re also benefiting from the trade and investment links across Greater China, using our presence across the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. China network income - much of it booked in Greater China - increased 56 per cent.
Peter Sands, Group Chief Executive, Standard Chartered said:
”These results represent a very positive start to the year. Our record of consistent delivery is testament to the resilience of the Bank’s business model, and underscores the sheer diversity of the income engines we have. These results are simply our tenth consecutive first half of record profits.”