In the first six months we have grown profits and made further progress in delivering our strategy. Our financial performance in the first half of 2015 demonstrated the underlying strength of our business. Reported profit before tax was USD13.6 billion, up 10 per cent on the first half of 2014, in spite of slow global economic growth.
Adjusted pre-tax profit, which excludes the year-on-year effects of currency translation differences and significant items, was USD13 billion, up 2 per cent on the first half of 2014. This improvement was driven by Asia, which contributed more than 60 per cent of Group profit.
Our financial performance in the first half of 2015 demonstrated the underlying strength of our business
Global Banking and Markets continued to perform well. Revenues grew in Commercial Banking and in Principal Retail Banking and Wealth Management, particularly in Hong Kong.
We benefited from our investment in key products relating to cross-border business. Foreign Exchange revenue grew by 21 per cent compared with the first half of 2014. HSBC was named ‘Best Trade Bank in the World’ at the Trade and Forfaiting Review Excellence Awards 2015. We maintained our leadership position in international renminbi services and won the ‘Best Foreign Bank’ awards for China, Indonesia and Malaysia in FinanceAsia’s International Banking Awards 2015.
At our Investor Update in June we unveiled a series of actions to capture the value of our global network in a changed world. They included reducing risk-weighted assets, cutting costs, and turning around or disposing of underperforming parts of the business.
Delivering on these commitments is our number one priority. Work is underway: on 31 July 2015 we agreed to sell our Brazil business to Banco Bradesco S.A. for USD5.2 billion, in a transaction that delivers excellent value for shareholders and represents significant delivery against the actions we outlined in June. We have also reduced risk-weighted assets in the first half of the year, particularly in Global Banking and Markets. We are introducing productivity improvements in Retail Banking and Wealth Management which will help us control costs at the same time as improving customer service.
As we reduce risk-weighted assets further we will seek both to build our capital base and to reinvest some of the capital released. Though our primary focus will be Asia, to maintain broad-based growth and a diversified risk profile we also expect to invest in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, North America and Mexico. If we cannot find strategic opportunities to deploy capital with a return on equity above 10 per cent, we will return the capital to shareholders, subject to regulatory approval.
We declared dividends per ordinary share of USD0.20 for the first half of the year.
We are hopeful for a modest improvement in the world economy in the second half of the year. Our focus for the rest of 2015 is to deliver the actions set out in June. This will create value for customers and shareholders and help us adapt to the changed environment in which we operate.