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StanChart CEO says fears of China growth slowdown, trade war are receding

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Standard Chartered PLC chief executive Bill Winters said fears over a slowdown in China's economic growth and the impact of the Sino-US trade tensions are "receding a bit".

[HONG KONG] Standard Chartered PLC chief executive Bill Winters said fears over a slowdown in China's economic growth and the impact of the Sino-US trade tensions are "receding a bit".

"China has taken modest actions to re-stimulate the economy," Mr Winters said at the Credit Suisse Asian Investment Conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

"We feel quite good about China," he said.

Since July 2018, the United States has imposed duties on US$250 billion worth of Chinese imports, including US$50 billion in technology and industrial goods at 25 per cent and US$200 billion in other products at 10 per cent.

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China has hit back with tariffs on about US$110 billion worth of US goods, including soybeans and other commodities.

The eight-month trade war between the world's two largest economies has raised costs, roiled financial markets, shrunk US farm exports and disrupted manufacturing supply chains.

StanChart, which makes most of its revenue in Asia, has seen its fortunes slump as restructuring under Winters repaired a balance sheet hit by excessive lending in the previous decade, but left the bank struggling to lift profit.

Last month, the bank unveiled plans to double returns and dividends in three years by cutting US$700 million in costs and boosting income, even though it missed its previous targets in tough market conditions.

The 150-year-old group's latest plans coincide with a risk of a slowdown in its core emerging markets due to the trade war as well as economic uncertainties in China and Britain, two of its main markets. 

REUTERS