Standard building book

UK lender Standard Chartered is to grow its $5.5bn shipping portfolio this year as markets recover.

The bank increased lending to shipowners more than 30% last year.

And it expects a very active 2014 following upturns in bulker and tanker markets, head of ship finance Nigel Anton told Bloomberg.

It predicted more investments in the Middle East oil and gas sector.

The bank was part of a group that fixed a $425m loan to Qatar Shipping in January.

Profit before tax in 2013 was $6.95bn, down 7% from 2012.