May 6, 2020 / 12:36 PM / a month ago

StanChart chairman predicts economic recovery led by Asia in late 2020

Jose Vinals, CEO of Standard Chartered PLC, speaks during an event to launch the private finance agenda for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Guildhall in London, Britain, February 27, 2020. Tolga Akmen/Pool via REUTERS/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - Standard Chartered Chairman Jose Vinals said on Wednesday his Asia-focused bank was well placed to benefit from a late 2020 economic rally, despite the “extraordinary” impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy.

“There is no doubt that the world will be coping with the threat of COVID-19 for some time. We expect most economies to suffer significant negative growth rates this year before the global economy moves gradually out of recession, starting in the latter part of 2020,” Vinals said via a video message to investors posted on the bank’s website.

“This recovery will most likely be led and then driven by markets in Asia, where we generated 80% of our profits in 2019.”

The bank’s annual investor meeting was closed to shareholders in line with government restrictions to control the spread of the new coronavirus. Results of proxy voting in the AGM will be published to investors later on Wednesday.

The Spanish economist, who has served as chairman of the bank since December 2016, also said the board had “acted decisively” to cut pension perks for executives after a sizeable investor rebellion last year.

Reporting by Sinead Cruise and Iain Withers, editing by Kirstin Ridley

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