StanChart CEO: Emerging market slowdown talk 'overblown'

Tuesday, 21 Jan 2014 | 1:30 AM ET
Concerns of EM slowdown 'overblown': StanChart CEO
Wednesday, 22 Jan 2014 | 1:15 AM ET
Peter Sands, CEO of Standard Chartered, says concerns over the so-called "fragile five" emerging markets are "overblown".

Talk of a slowdown in emerging markets as a result of the Federal Reserve scaling back asset purchases is "really overblown," the group chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank told CNBC on Wednesday, even as he dismissed speculation the bank is a takeover target.

Speaking to CNBC at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Peter Sands said he was "not at all concerned" about slowing growth in emerging markets, the bank's primary area of focus.

"When you look at where the fastest growth is going to happen, the most amount of wealth creation, the growth of the consumer classes -- it's still in the emerging markets, that fundamental story hasn't changed," he said. "I'm not complacent, but fundamentally 2014 looks pretty good."

Standard Chartered's London-listed shares have fallen 17 percent over the past year on weakness in developing countries.

On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported that the cheaper valuation for StanChart was prompting speculation the bank could be a takeover target. But Sands rejected the report on Wednesday.

"There is speculation that I read and then don't comment on and then there is speculation that is such rubbish I don't even bother to read and this falls in that category," he told CNBC.

StanChart shares rose 0.6 percent on Wednesday after rising more than 3 percent on Tuesday on buyout speculation.

Banks have been through a rocky year, with regulatory proposals in Europe and litigation on the back of high-profile scandals weighing on the sector.

(Read more: Standard Chartered shake-up: Exec paid for quitting)

Asia-focused Standard Chartered, or StanChart as it is known, has not been immune.

In 2012, the bank was accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran and was forced to pay $667 million to U.S. regulators. In 2013, its South Korean business suffered a $1 billion writedown. In the latest bit of bad news for the bank, its finance director and the head of its consumer banking arm announced their departures from the bank this month.

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