HSBC profits up five-fold in third quarter

"Our pivot to Asia is driving higher returns and lending growth, particularly in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta", Gulliver said in today's statement.

At the same time, reported quarterly profit before tax at $4.6bn was up some $3.8bn compared with the same period a year ago, reflecting the net favourable effects of significant items such as disposals and the impact from its own credit spread.

Adjusted pretax profit in the nine-month period, which strips out exceptional items, rose 8% year-on-year to USD17.40 billion from USD16.20 billion the year before, reflecting revenue growth, notably in Retail Banking & Wealth Management and Global Banking & Markets, and lower credit risk provisions, which were partly offset by an increase in operating expenses. Quarterly revenue rose 36.4% on-year to $12.98 billion.

"Our global network continued to deliver strong growth ... and our pivot to Asia is driving higher returns and lending growth, particularly in Hong Kong", HSBC Group Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver said in the statement.

HSBC highlighted strong performance from its worldwide network and good contributions from its Hong Kong and Asia businesses.

Asia account for 87% of HSBC's pre-tax profit as it boosted growth in loans, insurance and wealth management.

In February, 28-year company veteran Flint will inherit a bank in expansion mode after years of belt-tightening.

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HSBC's shift in focus to Asia and its scaling back of operations, including the sale of the Brazil business and job cuts, has aided a successful turnaround following the 2008 global financial crisis.

"At a time when Brexit uncertainty is still very much front and center for all of the banks, generating more than half of the bank's profit from Asia is very much a positive for (HSBC)", Smith told CNBC before the release of the bank's third-quarter earnings.

HSBC's London listed shares were down around 0.2% or 1.8p at 746.5p at the start of trading.

The common tier 1 ratio, a measure of capital, was 14.6% at the end of September, slightly below 14.7% at the end of June but higher than 13.6% at the end of 2016.

Adjusted profit before tax was $5.44 billion, compared to $5.52 billion previous year.

Return on equity, a key measure of profitability, almost doubled to 8.2%.

HSBC saw return on equity, a key measure of profitability, nearly double to 8.2 percent in the first nine months of the year but it did not give a timeframe for achieving its long-term goal of 10 percent. "This is an important area to us, we'll continue to invest there and hopefully continue to grow and see profitability build", Mackay said.

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