HSBC’s profits up by a third

The bank, which is building its US and European businesses to match its traditional strength in Asia, said foreign exchange and derivatives benefited from US dollar volatility, increased customer activity and the continued demand for structured products.

The bank continued to grow in its home centre, with a 69% increase in operating income in the corporate, investment banking and markets group in Hong Kong, mainly due to a "significant increase" in dealing profits. Forex profits were also up in that centre, benefiting from the strengthening of the US dollar against the Hong Kong dollar, the bank said. It also did particularly well in the UK and Canada, the bank added.

Royal Bank of Scotland also saw a rise in its foreign exchange dealing profits, which were up 10% in sterling terms and 21% in dollar terms to £295 million ($537 million) for the first half.

HBOS Treasury Services announced a 56% increase to £100 million in its first-half dealing profits in treasury, including interest rate derivatives and forex. It declined to reveal how much of these profits came purely from foreign exchange trading.

ABN Amro and the Credit Suisse Group also announced interim results last week. ABN Amro’s first-half foreign exchange dealing income was E233 million ($303 million) – flat on E236 million for first-half 2003. In the second quarter, it was down by 67% compared with the extremely active first quarter this year to E58 million (E175 million in the first quarter).

Credit Suisse First Boston, the division of Credit Suisse that houses forex, reported trading-related foreign exchange revenues of Sfr658 million ($527 million), up 17% from Sfr561 million for first-half 2003. It, too, saw a large drop in forex revenues for the second quarter compared with the previous quarter – down 27% to Sfr277 million in the second quarter from Sfr381 in the first quarter.

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