The UK’s banking giant HSBC said Monday that its net profit plummeted 96% in Q2 of this year due to the coronavirus crisis.

The bank’s net profit was $192 million in the April-June quarter, down from $4.37 billion in the same period last year. Net profit in Q1 was $1.79 billion.

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Near-zero interest rates meant to help businesses keep running with cheap credit are squeezing margins for lenders, HSBC said. The bank forecasts expected credit losses of $8 billion-$13 billion in 2020.

In February, the bank announced around 35,000 job cuts as part of a major restructuring project. CEO Noel Quinn said that HSBC halted its restructuring efforts in the last quarter to focus on supporting its customers.

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“Our first half performance was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, falling interest rates, increased geopolitical risk and heightened levels of market volatility”, Quinn stressed.


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