It’s been a tough 2016 for Credit Suisse.
The bank, Switzerland’s second biggest, reported a loss of CHF302 million ($311 million) for the first quarter of the year, down from a CHF1 billion profit for the same period in 2015.
While the figures look bad, they’re better than analysts expected. According to a poll by Bloomberg, analysts predicted a loss of CHF344 million in that period.
Credit Suisse Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam spoke to Bloomberg TV, saying the first three months of this year were as bad as could be.
“We’re at the trough — I don’t think we’ll get worse conditions than in the first quarter,” Thiam said. “We remain cautious in terms of the outlook because it feels fragile. The market is very sensitive, there’s not much liquidity.”
It was a turbulent three months, marked by job losses at the bank’s investment and markets division, an admission from Thiam that he was unaware of the bank’s bad trades in distressed debt, and a selloff in bank shares that saw about a third of Credit Suisse’s equity market value erased over the course of 2016.
The bank struck a cautious tone in its statement: “In the first quarter of 2016 and particularly in January and February, we operated in some of the most difficult markets on record with volumes and client activity drastically reduced.”
“While we saw tentative signs of a pick-up in activity in March and then in April, subdued market conditions and low levels of client activity are likely to persist in the second quarter of 2016 and possibly beyond,” Credit Suisse said.
But shares jumped on the news that the bank’s losses were less than expected: