HSBC’s reported and underlying profit before tax increased in the first half. Reported profit before tax in the first half was USD14.1 billion, an increase of 10 per cent compared with the same period in 2012. Underlying profit before tax increased by 47 per cent. These results demonstrate that we have continued to make progress on delivering our strategy.
First, we grew revenues in key areas, led by our Financing and Equity Capital Markets and Credit businesses, residential mortgages in the UK and Hong Kong, and increased collaboration between our global businesses.
Second, we continued to pursue our aim of improving costs to invest in the business, achieving a further USD0.8 billion of sustainable cost savings.
These results demonstrate that we have continued to make progress on delivering our strategy
Third, we continued to reshape HSBC. In April 2013, we sold a USD3.7 billion non-real estate personal loan portfolio, which accelerated the run-off of the Consumer and Mortgage Lending portfolio in the US. We announced a further 11 disposals or closures of non-strategic businesses, bringing the total number of transactions announced since the beginning of 2011 to 54. The rate of such transactions will now slow as the first phase of strategic delivery draws to a close.
The steps we have taken to reshape HSBC have released around USD80 billion in risk-weighted assets to date, with a further potential release of USD15 billion. Together with internal capital generation, this will further support investment in organic growth opportunities that fit with our strategy.
In May 2013, we set out the next phase of delivery, covering the period from 2014 to 2016. Our strategic direction is unchanged and our priorities are clear – to grow the business and dividends, implement the highest global standards of conduct and compliance, and streamline our processes and procedures.
We remain committed to our values and to ensuring that they are reflected in everything we do. Our values are to be dependable, open to different ideas and cultures, and connected to customers, communities, regulators and each other. By implementing global standards we are reinforcing the expectation that our employees will do the right thing, act with courageous integrity and maintain the highest or most effective financial crime controls everywhere that we operate.
In spite of slower short-term macroeconomic growth, the long-term economic trends which informed our strategy remain intact. The global economy will continue to rebalance towards the faster-growing markets and trade and capital flows will continue to expand.
Growth remains subdued in the Western economies and sustained recovery is likely to depend on structural reform.
In mainland China, the new emphasis on the quality rather than the quantity of growth is shifting the policy balance away from stimulus and towards reform. We believe this is likely to limit the pace of China’s growth to 7.4 per cent for 2013 and 2014, which is already being reflected in more modest growth figures in other countries, particularly in Asia.
However, we believe that China’s reform agenda, which covers financial, fiscal, deregulation and urbanisation reforms, will provide the basis for more sustainable growth in the medium to long term.
With our network covering 80 countries and strong market shares across the faster-growing markets, HSBC remains well positioned to benefit from the long-term trends in the global economy.