HSBC expects boost from early rate rises as profit soars


British bank HSBC has said it expects to benefit from central bank interest rates rising earlier than expected as it announced a third-quarter boost to its profit.

The banking giant told shareholders that its revenue expectations are beginning to look more positive, saying it is lending more and expects policy rates to rise.

In the three months to the end of September, revenue hit 5.4 billion US dollars, up by 76 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

It was helped by the bank’s decision to release 700 million dollars that it had put away to cover bad debt during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief executive Noel Quinn said: “We had a good third-quarter performance, with strong growth in profits supported by additional credit provision releases.

“Our strategy remains on track, with good delivery in all areas. This was reflected in more consistent top-line growth, robust lending pipelines across our businesses, and rising trade and mortgage balances.

“While we retain a cautious outlook on the external risk environment, we believe that the lows of recent quarters are behind us.”

The business announced a 2 billion dollar share buyback, which, it said, has been made possible by a strong capital position.

The payout comes two months after HSBC announced an interim dividend of 7 cents per share, adding up to around 1.4 billion dollars in total.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at interactive investor, said: “HSBC has flexed its financial muscles as it continues to emerge from the horror show of 2020.

“The numbers are flattered by further bad debt releases, in what will be the likely theme of the season, but the announcement of a share buyback programme is a positive endorsement of the bank’s own confidence in prospects.”

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