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HSBC profits fall 29% as Brexit bites

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HSBC said on Wednesday its half-year profits had plunged 29 per cent and that the bank was heading into a "period of heightened uncertainty" after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

[HONG KONG] HSBC said on Wednesday its half-year profits had plunged 29 per cent and that the bank was heading into a "period of heightened uncertainty" after Britain voted to leave the European Union.

The bank said that pre-tax profits in a turbulent six months to June had dived to US$9.7 billion year-on-year, although it assured it had weathered the Brexit storm "securely".

However, group chairman Douglas Flint said UK business was now entering a new era as Britain negotiates its departure from the EU.

"It is evident that we are entering a period of heightened uncertainty where economic risks are being overshadowed by political and geo-political events," Flint said.

He added that establishing fresh terms of trade with EU and global partners would be "complex and time-consuming".

Group chief executive Stuart Gulliver predicted tough times ahead, saying volatility is "likely to continue for some time".

HSBC's net profit for the first half also fell 28 per cent from the same period in 2015, dropping to US$6.91 billion.

AFP