HSBC will accelerate plans to cut 35,000 jobs after profits plunged 65 per cent in the first half of the year.
Europe’s biggest bank said it had been hit by falling interest rates, disruption caused by the coronavirus, and political tensions between the US and China.
Profits for the half year to 30 June were $4.3bn (£3.3bn), down from $12.4bn in the same period last year.
HSBC’s shares fell 6 per cent on Monday following the report and are down more than 40 per cent in 2020 so far.
Trade disputes between Washington and Beijing, as well as uncertainty over the shape of Brexit, will continue to drag on performance, HSBC said.
The group’s chief executive, Noel Quinn, said: “Our first half performance was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, falling interest rates, increased geopolitical risk and heightened levels of market volatility.”
He said: “Current tensions between China and the US inevitably create challenging situations for an organisation with HSBC’s footprint.
“We will face any political challenges that arise with a focus on the long-term needs of our customers and the best interests of our investors.”
The bank paused plans for mass job cuts when the coronavirus pandemic began, but the redundancy programme will now be accelerated.
The company set aside $3.8bn for bad loans in the quarter ending 30 June, up from $555m in the same period last year.
The company said: “Our performance in the second half of the year will continue to be influenced by the path and economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Geopolitical uncertainty could also weigh heavily on our clients, particularly those impacted by heightened US-China and UK-China tensions, and the future of UK-EU trade relations.”
The London-based bank makes 90 per cent of its profits in Asia.
In June, HSBC publicly backed China’s controversial imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong, in a break from its usual policy of political neutrality.
HSBC’s Asia-Pacific chief executive, Peter Wong, signed a petition backing the law, the bank said. HSBC “respects and supports all laws that stabilise Hong Kong’s social order”, it said in a post on social media in China.