But its annual profits still rose 10% to $24.2bn, up from $22.08bn the year before.
The write-down is the largest of the big-five UK banks.The bank said the global financial system had come under "extraordinary strain" in 2007.
"The outlook for the rest of 2008 is uncertain," said HSBC chairman Stephen Green.
"The economic slowdown and the credit outlook in the US may well get worse before they get better," he added.
Underlying profit growth is better than we were expecting
Leigh Goodwin, analyst at Fox-Pitt, Kelton
Whilst the credit crisis, caused by problems in the US housing market, hit HSBC's US operations, the bank enjoyed strong growth in Asia, Middle-East and Latin America.NYT