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HSBC records Q1 profit of $6.8bn

HSBC recorded significantly higher gross profits in the first quarter of 2012 in comparison to the corresponding period last year, new figures have revealed.

The major European bank's Interim Management Statement for the opening part of the year has shown that its profit before tax (PBT) rose to $6.8 billion during this timeframe.

This represents a 25 per cent rise on the figure posted in 2011 and the financier attributed this trend primarily to its increased revenues in its commercial, retail and global banking and wealth management divisions.

Furthermore, the lender improved its underlying cost efficiency to 55.5 per cent from 58.7 per cent 12 months earlier, while its investment in emerging markets such as Hong Kong and Latin America also boosted overall PBT.

Stuart Gulliver - group chief executive at HSBC, a bank with some 89 million customers globally - said this is a "good start to the year", but also warned that "markets remain volatile with high levels of debt and regulatory and political uncertainty in developed economies".

By Asim Shah