3 Aug 2009

Barclays' profits boosted by investment banking arm

10:34 pm on 3 August 2009

Barclays has announced an 8% rise in first-half profits, boosted by its investment banking division.

Pre-tax profits for the first six months came in at Stg2.98 billion, although this was slightly below analysts' forecasts.

Profits at its investment bank Barclays Capital doubled, but those at its British retail banking arm more than halved.

HSBC reported half-year profits of $US5 billion, although this was about half what it made in the same period a year ago.

The BBC reports the striking number in Barclays' results is the massive reduction in loans and investments across the world, which have come down from Stg2 trillion to Stg1.5 trillion.

Total bad debts, across all parts of Barclays' international businesses, rose from Stg 2.45 billion to Stg4.56 billion.

HSBC was also hit by rising bad debts in the United States, Europe and Asia, forcing it to writeoff $13.9 billion - 39% more than the same period in 2008.

HSBC is currently in the process of closing its US consumer lending business, which suffered heavy losses from mortgages which went unpaid.

Barclays and HSBC are the first major banks in the United Kingdom to report half-year figures, with Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland reporting later this week.