/HSBC and StanChart shares tumble after reports show they moved suspicious funds; Asia-Pacific markets lower

HSBC and StanChart shares tumble after reports show they moved suspicious funds; Asia-Pacific markets lower

SINGAPORE — Hong Kong-listed shares of Standard Chartered and HSBC tumbled on Monday following reports that they allegedly moved large sums of suspicious funds.

In Monday morning trade, shares of Standard Chartered tumbled 2.96% and HSBC fell 3.23%. The moves came after the banks — among several global lenders — were identified in media reports as having allegedly moved suspicious funds over a period of nearly two decades, according to Reuters. The reports cited confidential documents submitted by banks to the U.S. government. 

“We do not comment on suspicious activity reporting,” HSBC said in a statement to CNBC. “Since 2012, HSBC has embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions.”

Standard Chartered, meanwhile, said in a statement: “The reality is that there will always be attempts to launder money and evade sanctions; the responsibility of banks is to build effective screening and monitoring programmes to protect the global financial system.”

“We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes,” Standard Chartered wrote. 

The U.S. government is expected to pursue fines, Amber Hill Capital’s Jackson Wong told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday. That means “more fine payments” for HSBC and Standard Chartered, he said, adding that such litigations “will not go away.”

Asia-Pacific markets lower

Markets in Asia-Pacific were lower in Monday trade, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index down about 0.8%.

Mainland Chinese stocks also saw losses. The Shanghai composite was down 0.38% while the Shenzhen component dipped 0.267%. China’s one-year and five-year Loan Prime Rate (LPR) on Monday were kept unchanged at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively.

South Korea’s Kospi was below the flatline. Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 shed 0.73%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index traded 0.28% lower. Markets in Japan are closed on Monday for a holiday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 92.817 after last week’s decline from levels above 93.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 104.31 per dollar after strengthening in the previous trading week from levels above 105.6 against the greenback. The Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7314 after trading last week between levels above $ 0.732 and below $ 0.729.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures hovering above the flatline to $ 43.16 per barrel. U.S. crude futures were slightly higher at $ 41.14 per barrel.

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