Commonplace Chartered has introduced a $254m share buyback scheme and stated it might resume paying a dividend, regardless of slipping to a loss within the fourth quarter because the coronavirus pandemic hit its efficiency.

The Asia-focused, UK-based financial institution reported a $449m loss within the final three months of 2020. StanChart’s annual income earlier than tax dropped 57 per cent, falling in need of analysts’ estimates supplied by the financial institution, to $1.6bn. Credit score impairment prices greater than doubled in the course of the 12 months to $2.3bn.

“We stay robust and worthwhile, though returns in 2020 have been clearly impacted by greater provisions, diminished financial exercise and low rates of interest, in every case the results of Covid-19,” stated Invoice Winters, chief govt, in a press release asserting the outcomes on Thursday.

The lender stated it might problem a dividend of $0.09 per share, changing into the latest large British bank to renew payouts because the Financial institution of England partially lifted a ban on dividends in December. HSBC earlier this week stated it might return $0.15 per share to buyers.

The financial institution stated it anticipated total earnings in 2021 to be flat in comparison with final 12 months, as a result of influence of world rate of interest cuts. It forecast that earnings development would return to five to 7 per cent from 2022.

StanChart will resume cost-cutting measures that it had paused in the course of the pandemic. It’s anticipated to chop a number of hundred of its 85,000 workers all over the world, principally centered on junior positions, within the subsequent few months.

Hong Kong generated the majority of its working earnings within the interval, adopted by Singapore, India, South Korea and mainland China. The financial institution made income earlier than tax of $2.8bn in Asia in the course of the 12 months.

StanChart has fared barely higher than a few of its UK and European rivals in the course of the pandemic on account of its give attention to Asia and Africa. Nonetheless, its shares have fallen practically a 3rd over the previous 12 months. They dropped 2.6 per cent in Hong Kong buying and selling following the outcomes announcement.

Like its London-based rival HSBC, StanChart has been navigating an more and more fraught relationship between the US, UK and China. Relations worsened final 12 months after Beijing’s imposition of a controversial national security law on Hong Kong. The lender has publicly supported the regulation, which bars banks from complying with international sanctions. 

“As a world financial institution with a novel rising market footprint straddling the east and the west, we’ve got at all times needed to cope with political turbulence, each inside and between our markets,” stated Winters within the outcomes announcement.

“This was unusually seen in 2020 however we’re hopeful {that a} spirit of engagement will assist keep away from additional escalation. We’ll adjust to all legal guidelines that have an effect on us and our shoppers and hope for a extra diplomatic and multilateral resolution to the world’s challenges.”

StanChart stated that political and pandemic-related challenges in Hong Kong had impacted its monetary efficiency in 2020 however that it needed to strengthen its market place within the territory.

It additionally stated it might proceed to develop its wealth administration division, notably in mainland China and Hong Kong, to capitalise on “the rising wealth of its inhabitants, the rising sophistication and internationalisation of Chinese language companies and the elevated use of the renminbi internationally”.