HSBC's profits have fallen 28% as a result of its 'toughest trading conditions for decades' according to the bank's half-yearly results.
The bank made a pre-tax profit of $10.2bn across its worldwide operations, down $3.9bn from the same period last year.
The bank will pay shareholders an interim dividend of $0.18 per share with a scrip alternative also offered.
The bank was able to stay profitable in all regions of the world apart from North America, where a $2.8bn loss was made, compared with a $2.4bn profit a year ago.
European markets accounted for just over 50% of the group's profits, up from 28% lasy year. The group made an overall profit of $5.17bn in Europe, up from $4bn in the first half of 2007.
Difficult market conditions forced HSBC to make a $3.9bn writedown, 37% higher than the same period last year.
Stephen Green, chairman of HSBC Group, comments: “The first half of 2008 saw the most difficult financial markets for several decades, marked by significant declines in profitability throughout much of our industry, with consequent recapitalisation and restructuring. HSBC was not immune from the turmoil.”
The bank says most of its problems stem from operations in the developed world, where consumer spending has been hit by falling residential property values. Emerging markets operations were more positive, though Green warns that inflationary pressures were of some concern in several developing economies.
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