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Banks in for more losses as crisis spreads


October 28, 2008

Banks in for more losses as crisis spreads
Banks will be hit by more losses as the financial crisis moves into the real economy, while the market turmoil is far from over, Reuters quoted Standard Chartered bank’s chief executive as saying Tuesday.

"We're in uncharted territory -- the critical thing we're looking for is signs that the intervention launched two weeks ago is working," Peter Sands was quoted as telling the Business Times in Singapore.

"What I will predict is we'll see more currency and interest rate volatilities and also see many banks with rising loan impairments as the financial crisis moves into the real economy and more corporates see the effect."

Banks worldwide have announced writedowns and credit losses of more than $600 billion since the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market in 2007.

Analysts said on Monday Standard Chartered could need to raise up to $5 billion in capital to match bigger cushions held by rivals and as emerging markets face a slowdown.

But Sands said Standard Chartered was doing well as it was still hiring new staff and seeing growth.

He said the bank's primary route for growth is organic, but it had made acquisitions during the financial crisis and hired staff from distressed rivals to boost market share.

"We are continuing to hire, although we may pull back a bit in some places," he said.

At the end of June, the group worldwide had 75,000 staff, up from 69,000 at end-2007. It has more than 5,300 people based in Singapore, 900 more from 12 months ago, the paper said.

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