HSBC Holdings PLC Chairman Stephen Green said its U.S. business is "going better than expected," after loan charges at Europe's largest lender increased more slowly than expected in the first half.
On Monday the company reported a pretax loss of $3.7 billion from North American operations, compared with a loss of $2.89 billion a year earlier.
HSBC set aside $13.9 billion to cover bad loans, less than the $15.3 billion median estimate among analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
"I can't tell you what's happening with impairments, but it's going better than we expected and analysts expected," Green said in an interview Tuesday. "And the rundown is going well."
In Europe, pretax profit fell to $2.98 billion from $5.2 billion. Profit from Hong Kong declined to $2.5 billion from $3.07 billion, while earnings from the rest of Asia dropped to $2.02 billion from $2.6 billion.
Green said Tuesday that emerging markets will continue to outgrow the U.S. and Europe "for the next generation" and that HSBC is "well positioned" to take advantage of the shift.
Though HSBC's deposit base in China puts pressure on net interest margins as interest rates fall, it will benefit once borrowing costs start rising again, said Sandy Flockhart, HSBC's chief executive for the Asia-Pacific region, in a separate interview Tuesday.