HSBC's pre-tax profits fall 29% amid Brexit concerns

HSBC has reported a 29% fall in pre-tax profits for the first half of 2016 as revenue fell 11% amid concerns over the EU referendum.

Europe's largest bank saw annual pre-tax profits decrease by 3.9 billion dollars (£2.9 billion) to 9.7 billion dollars (£7.2 billion), compared with 13.6 billion dollars (£10.2 billion) in the same period in 2015.

In interim results released on Wednesday, HSBC said revenue had fallen from 32.9 billion dollars (£24.7 billion) in the first half of 2015 to 29.5 billion dollars (£22.1 billion) in the first six months of 2016.

Group chairman Douglas Flint said the falls came amid a "turbulent period" for the bank.

He said: "Concern over the sustainable level of economic growth in China was the most significant feature of the first quarter and, as this moderated, uncertainty over the upcoming UK referendum on membership of the European Union intensified."

The results cover from the start of 2016 up to one week after the June 23 referendum.

"The period ended with exceptional volatility as financial markets reacted to the UK referendum decision to leave the EU, a result that had not been anticipated," Mr Flint said.

The bank saw demand for credit investment fall as a consequence of uncertainty during the first half of the year, and a chill in equity market activity was exacerbated by factors including a crash in the price of oil, he said.

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