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Our strategy and business model have enabled us to have a strong quarter. Although reported profit before tax for the third quarter was US$3.7bn lower than the same period in 2011, underlying profit was up US$2.8bn to US$5.0bn, and it is on this basis that we measure our performance. The increase in underlying profit was driven by revenue growth in Global Banking and Markets, mainly in Rates and Credit as conditions in the eurozone stabilised relative to 3Q11, and in Commercial Banking, where net interest income rose, reflecting higher average lending and deposit balances. We continued to grow in a majority of our priority markets. In addition, loan impairment charges reduced significantly compared with the third quarter last year, mainly in North America.

The third quarter results include an additional provision of US$800m in relation to the ongoing US anti-money laundering, Bank Secrecy Act and Office of Foreign Assets Control investigations. We are actively engaged in discussions with US authorities to try to reach a resolution, but there is not yet an agreement. The US authorities have substantial discretion in deciding exactly how to resolve this matter. Indeed, the final amount of the financial penalties could be higher, possibly significantly higher, than the amount accrued. We have also made UK customer redress provisions of US$353m, mainly in respect of Payment Protection Insurance.

We continue to execute our strategy to ensure that we are aligned with the key global trends of growth in international trade and capital flows and wealth creation, particularly in faster-growing markets. We have made significant progress in delivering our strategic priorities to simplify, restructure and grow HSBC. We have announced 24 disposals and closures this year, including eight since 30 June 2012, making a total of 41 since the beginning of 2011, exiting non-strategic markets and selling businesses and non-core investments. We recorded a further US$500m of sustainable cost savings in the third quarter, which takes the total annualised savings to US$3.1bn. Compared with the third quarter last year, underlying revenues rose in a majority of our priority growth markets and we maintained our focus on the closer integration of our Global Businesses. This was illustrated by the 8 per cent increase in revenues associated with the collaboration between Global Banking and Markets and Commercial Banking for the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2011. By delivering this strategy we are ensuring that we maintain our distinctive market position.

While subdued economic conditions persist in Europe and other Western economies, we remain confident in our outlook for growth in the emerging world and, particularly, in mainland China, where we continue to expect a soft landing.