73 million unemployed youth from IOC countries, IDB president says

Up to 73 million youth from countries belonging to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation member are unemployed. (AFP)
Updated 10 July 2017

73 million unemployed youth from IOC countries, IDB president says

DUBAI: Up to 73 million youth from countries belonging to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation are unemployed, said Bandar Hajjar, the president of the Islamic Development Bank, because of their limited employability as well as the lack employment opportunities.
Speaking at the group’s council of foreign ministers meeting held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Hajar called on OIC member states to cooperate in tackling poverty and youth unemployment.
OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents and says it “represents the collective voice of the Muslim world” whose interests the group aims to safeguard and protect.
Of the 1.75 billion youth population, Hagar said, about 500 million or 28.5 percent live in OIC member states.
The IDB president discussed ways to enhance the role of young people, especially through the development of social programs to facilitate opportunities for economic empowerment, enhancing the quality of education, and setting up business incubators to assist young people’s entrepreneurship ideas.
Hajar also encouraged member countries to facilitate SME financing, and improve the overall business environment to integrate the youth in the development of states.
“IDB has implemented several initiatives on youth development, which includes the Youth Employment Support program; the Education for Employment initiative; and the Vocational Literacy Program,” Hajar said.
Earlier this year, OIC member Indonesia held a ministerial conference with other members to discuss cooperation in the manpower sector.
“The meeting is aimed at addressing unemployment issues, particularly among young generation, as well as improving the quality of social security for workers,” Indonesia’s manpower and transmigration minister Muhammad Hanif Dhakiri.
The Asian country, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, has proposed to be a sponsoring country for the establishment of a research forum on Islamic concept and practices in the manpower sector.


HSBC profit slump adds to bank sector coronavirus woes

Updated 04 August 2020

HSBC profit slump adds to bank sector coronavirus woes

  • London-based bank reports massive slump in net profit, plans to slash 35,000 jobs

LONDON: HSBC on Monday reported a 69-percent slump in net profit, joining a number of major banks whose earnings have been slammed by the coronavirus fallout.

HSBC announced earnings of $3.1 billion compared with almost $10 billion in the first 6 months of 2019, as spiraling China-US tensions also hurt the British-based but Asia-focused lender.

Alongside HSBC results, top French bank Societe Generale on Monday announced a second quarter loss of more than €1 billion as the pandemic forced it to set aside more provisions against bad loans. UK banks Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest all last week reported huge financial hits linked to the pandemic’s fallout.

But there have been some bright spots, with French bank BNP Paribas weathering the coronavirus storm in the second quarter with only a small dip in net profits thanks to a surge in investment banking.

Credit Suisse meanwhile saw net profit jump almost a quarter in the April-June period, also on investment banking gains.

HIGHLIGHT

$1 BILLION - Alongside HSBC results, top French bank Societe Generale on Monday announced a second-quarter loss of more than €1 billion as the pandemic forced it to set aside more provisions against bad loans.

“HSBC has done little to lift investors’ spirits as it brings the curtain down on what has been a costly half-year reporting season for banks in general,” noted Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

Even though banks “are much better prepared for this economic onslaught than during the financial crisis of over a decade ago ... the immediate outlook is bleak,” he added.

HSBC said that its pre-tax profit slid 64 percent to $4.3 billion in the first half while revenue was down 9 percent at $26.7 billion.

The figures missed analyst forecasts and the bank also raised its estimate for 2020 loan losses to $13 billion from $8 billion.

CEO Noel Quinn described the first 6 months of the year as “some of the most challenging in living memory.” He added: “Our first-half performance was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, falling interest rates, increased geopolitical risk and heightened levels of market volatility.”

Even by the standards of the current economic maelstrom engulfing global banks, HSBC has had a torrid time.

Before the coronavirus crisis it was beset by disappointing profit growth, ground down by US-China trade war uncertainties and Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The London-headquartered bank embarked on a huge cost-cutting initiative at the start of the year, including plans to slash about 35,000 jobs as well as trimming fat from less profitable divisions, primarily in the United States and Europe.

The coronavirus upended some of that cost-cutting drive with banks hammered by market volatility and the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.

But HSBC has a further headache — geopolitical tensions via its status as a major business conduit between China and the West.

HSBC makes 90 percent of its profit in Asia, with China and Hong Kong being the major drivers of growth.

As a result it has found itself more vulnerable than most to the crossfire caused by the increasingly bellicose relationship between Beijing and Washington.

The bank has tried to stay in Beijing’s good graces. It vocally backed a draconian national security law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong in June to end a year of unrest and pro-democracy protests. The move sparked criticism in Washington and London but analysts saw it as an attempt to protect its access to China, which has a track record of punishing businesses that do not toe Beijing’s line.

But that has not shielded it from Beijing’s wrath. Quinn referenced the bank’s growing political vulnerability in Monday’s results statement.

“Current tensions between China and the US inevitably create challenging situations for an organization with HSBC’s footprint,” he said.

“However, the need for a bank capable of bridging the economies of East and West is acute, and we are well placed to fulfil this role,” he added.