Standard Chartered has announced a $254m share buyback scheme and said it would resume paying a dividend, despite slipping to a loss in the fourth quarter as the coronavirus pandemic hit its performance.

The Asia-focused, UK-based bank reported a $449m loss in the last three months of 2020. Standard Chartered’s annual profits dropped 57 per cent, falling short of analysts’ estimates, to $1.6bn. Credit impairment charges more than doubled during the year to $2.3bn.

“We remain strong and profitable, although returns in 2020 were clearly impacted by higher provisions, reduced economic activity and low interest rates, in each case the result of Covid-19,” said Bill Winters, chief executive.

The lender said it would issue a dividend of $0.09 per share, becoming the latest large British bank to resume payouts since the Bank of England partially lifted a ban on dividends in December. HSBC earlier this week said it would return $0.15 per share to investors.

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