A resurgence in exports and the declining value of the U.S. dollar helped lift Hongkong & Shanghai Banking Corp.'s half-year profits 8 percent over a year earlier at HK$1.197 billion (US$153 million).
That compared with HK$1.109 billion for the six months to June 30, 1985, which was a 9 percent gain on the corresponding period of 1984. The results are after tax and the usual unspecified transfers to inner reserves, funds that banks are allowed to maintain in Hong Kong but not required to disclose.An interim dividend of HK13 cents will be paid, 4 percent above last year's 12.5 cents.
As the largest bank in the colony - and one of its two note-issuing institutions - it gains handsomely from any general improvement in economic climate.
Exports have bounced back from last year's depressed levels, aided by the lower dollar. The Hong Kong currency is linked to its U.S. counterpart. The local stock market has been probing stratospheric heights and the property sector is also strong.
However, overall loan demand was described by the bank as sluggish despite good consumer finance needs. International operations suffered from the fall in commodity and oil prices.
The bank, which also owns 51 percent of Marine Midland Banks Inc., termed U.S. growth disappointing and criticized protectionist moves that will hit many Asian countries in which it is a major player. The group traditionally opens the reporting season and provides a general guide to what the rest of Hong Kong business will show.