HSBC enjoyed a better-than-expected first quarter as the global economic recovery gained traction.
The UK bank said Tuesday that pre-tax profit jumped 79% to $5.8 billion in the three months ended March, despite revenue dipping 5% to $13 billion.
HSBC said the improving economy allowed it to release $400 million that had been set aside to cover pandemic losses. All regions were profitable, and the United Kingdom was a bright spot — pulling in more than $1 billion in pre-tax profit.
"We had a good start to the year," CEO Noel Quinn said in a statement Tuesday. "The economic outlook has improved, although uncertainties remain."
The lender has been restructuring as it works to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It announced in February that it would push harder into Asia, particularly China, southeast Asia and India.
In 2020, HSBC's pre-tax profit fell to $8.8 billion, a 34% slump compared to the year before. It has been especially hit hard by record low interest rates, prompting it to place more emphasis on fee-generating businesses.
HSBC's stock in Hong Kong rose 1.9% on Tuesday, while its shares in London ticked up 1.1%.