HONG KONG (Reuters) - Standard Chartered said on Wednesday its first quarter operating profit was likely to be slightly lower than a year ago as an increase in hiring, and wages, pushed up costs.

London-based Standard Chartered , which earns about four-fifths of its income from Asia, said group expenses were up by a low single digit percentage. The bank said it had hired an additional 560 staff.

Income would be slightly higher compared to the same year-ago period, the bank said, thanks to client volume growth.

Contributions from Permata, the bank's joint venture business in Indonesia, will be equity accounted rather than proportionally consolidated from 2013 onwards, the statement said.

The bank does not issue full quarterly numbers, and releases its earnings twice a year.

(Reporting By Lawrence White; editing by Miral Fahmy)

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