US recovery will aid emerging markets: StanChart CFO
A U.S. economic recovery would benefit – not hurt – emerging markets, the group finance director of Standard Chartered Bank told CNBC, but he stressed that it was wrong to view Asian economies as one homogeneous bloc.
Standard Chartered makes around four-fifths of its operating profit in Asia and the Middle East, and with fears of a slowdown in the region this year and beyond, analysts have grown concerned about the bank's emerging market exposure.
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However, the firm's group finance director Richard Meddings argued that, "what's driving this reflection on Asia is actually rising dollar rates in the U.S., and therefore a move away from investing in Asia and investing more in the U.S. to pursue those rates."
He continued: "As the U.S. recovers, steadily, the U.S. is 25 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), and much of what Asia produces and manufactures or assembles is actually sold into the U.S., so actually you have a benefit lifting Asia as the U.S. recovers."
Standard Chartered took a $1 billion hit on the value of its Korean business in August, pulling its first-half profit down over 15 percent from a year ago. It reported pre-tax profit of $3.3 billion for the six months to the end of June, compared with $3.9 billion a year earlier due to the Korea write-down.
The bank also faced shareholder fury in March when it announced a profit fall, but said it was on course to achieve an eleventh consecutive year of record profits.
Meddings said the ongoing recovery in the U.S. would guarantee Standard Chartered's future, arguing that the firm would become a "more profitable franchise."
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He did add, however, that, "the next three to six months are likely to be a period of some turbulence across the markets until we get through this transition period."
Standard Chartered was aided by a diversified portfolio, Meddings said, which was important amid the ongoing concerns about an Asian slowdown, as all economies were different.
"I think the concerns are too uniform. I think the overall market mood is to see Asia as one full block. In fact it's not correlated. Different economies react differently according to their own individual shape,"he said.