British multinational investment bank HSBC said on Tuesday its reported profit before tax dropped by a third in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reported profit after tax down 30 percent to 6.1 billion U.S. dollars and reported profit before tax down 34 percent to 8.8 billion dollars due to higher expected credit losses and other credit impairment charges and lower revenue, which is partly offset by a fall in operating expenses, the company said.

“We achieved this while delivering a solid financial performance in the context of the pandemic — particularly in Asia — and laying firm foundations for our future growth,” said Group Chief Executive Noel Quinn.

HSBC said its strategy includes accelerating the shift of capital to areas, principally Asia and wealth, delivering faster, easier and more secure digital banking as well as capturing the opportunities presented by the transition to a low-carbon economy.

HSBC said after the significant deterioration in global economic conditions in the first half of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were signs of improvement in the second half, especially in Asia.

“The most impressive economic recovery has been in China — still the biggest driver of global growth — where international trade is rebounding most strongly,” it said.

It said the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in November 2020 should further boost intra-regional activity across Asia, while the recent political agreement between the European Union and China on an investment deal should, once ratified, bolster the already significant two-way investment flows.

The company said the board of directors has declared a dividend for 2020, with an ordinary share of 0.15 dollars per common share and has adopted a policy aimed at sustainable dividends in the future. Enditem

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