Standard Chartered Bank said the value of its exposure to structured products might decline further because the turmoil in the subprime market was not yet over. 'It's too early to call whether we are at the bottom or through the worst [of the subprime crisis] at this point,' group chief executive Peter Sands said yesterday in Hong Kong. 'I don't think it's over.' Mr Sands said he expected there would still be a fair amount of volatility in the financial markets and some institutions would continue to suffer from significant losses. He added that there would be some deterioration in the value of the bank's exposure on structured investment vehicles due to the turbulence in financial markets over the past two months. However, he said the impact to his bank would be immaterial because the exposure was not large compared with earnings. The London-based bank reported indirect exposure to US subprime assets of less than US$6 billion when it unveiled earnings growth last year of 24.85 per cent in February, having made a write-down of US$300 million on its riskiest assets. Mr Sands said the Asian economy would not be immune to the slowdown in the US, but it would not derail the lender from its growth trend. 'We can continue to grow,' he said, adding that the bank would increase its investments in the region. But he declined to comment on whether the bank had been in talks to take a stake in Hong Kong-listed Wing Lung Bank or the mainland's Chengdu City Commercial Bank. Standard Chartered invited Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah to be a speaker at a luncheon this week. But Mr Sands did not comment on whether the bank had discussed its note-issuing status during the meeting. Singapore's Temasek Holdings raised its stake in the bank in February from 18 per cent to 19.03 per cent, edging closer to the level that will disqualify it as a banknote issuer.