HSBC has paused plans to cut 35,000 jobs, saying it does not want to leave staff unable to find work elsewhere during the coronavirus outbreak.

The bank announced the cuts in February as part of a massive cost-cutting programme.

But boss Noel Quinn said the “the vast majority” of redundancies would now be put on hold due to the exceptional circumstances.

It came as HSBC reported a 50% fall in profits linked to the pandemic.

Pre-tax earnings for the first three months came in at $3.2bn (£2.6bn), down from $6.2bn a year ago.

The bank forecast bad loans would rise to $3bn due to customers not being able to repay them during the crisis. It also said earnings were likely to remain under pressure.

“The economic impact of

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