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May 12, 2008

HSBC writes down $5.8bn on US business

by Gill Montia

Story link: HSBC writes down $5.8bn on US business

HSBC has added $5.8 billion to the $14 billion it has already written down in relation to its US business.

The bank’s chairman, Stephen Green, admitted that the US is likely to fall into a recession during 2008 and that the country’s housing market may not recover until at least 2009.

A statement also confirmed that the group is continuing to see late mortgage and credit card payments increase in the US, as a result of a slowing economy and the bank’s tighter lending criteria.

Late payments of two months or more on US HSBC credit cards rose to 5.9% in the first three months of the year, compared with 5.8% in the previous quarter.

In addition, 5% of borrowers were two months or more in arrears on their mortgage payments, compared to 4.2% in the final quarter of 2007.

Meanwhile the group’s emerging markets business (responsible for around two-thirds of its profit) showed a rise in profit, as did its UK retail operations.

The first quarter of the year also saw a sharp increase in profit from the bank’s commercial banking business.

HSBC says it has continued to restrict its commercial real estate exposure in North America and has recently taken the same approach in the UK.

 

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