Five questions answered on HSBC’s profit rise

How did they do it?

HSBC bank has reported a rise in profits for the first half of the year despite a drop in revenue. We answer five questions on HSBC’s figures for the first half of the year.

By how much has HSBC’s pre-tax profit risen by?

The bank’s pre-tax profit is up by 10 per cent to $14.1bn (£9.2bn). This is despite a 7 per cent drop in revenues to just under $35bn.

How has HSBC achieved these figures?

I has it has achieved this by streamlining its business and cutting operational costs by 13 per cent, as we as selling off non-core businesses and lower bad debts.

The bank said it had closed or sold 11 non-core businesses since the start of the year.

It also cut 46,000 jobs in May and plans to reduce its number of employees to between 240,000 and 250,000 over the next three years.

What has the company said about its latest figures?

"We have successfully progressed the repositioning of the business," chief executive Stuart Gulliver is quoted by the BBC as saying.

"These results confirm the value which is being delivered from the continuing reshaping of the group and enforcing appropriate cost discipline," he added.

Are the latest figures in line with expert’s expectations?

They are slightly below analysts expectations. HSBC’s shares, which have risen by over 40% in the past year, fell 3 per cent when the results were announced. 

Richard Hunter, head of equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, speaking to the BBC said the key results were "strong or improving".

"The statement is safe and dependable, as is the current aspiration of banking investors."

What else has the bank said about its future plans?

The bank is planning on streamlining its operations further by focusing on high growth markets in Asia.

HSBC makes an estimated 90 per cent of its profits outside the UK.

HSBC's pre-tax profits have risen by 10 percent despite a 7 per cent drop in revenues. Photograph: Getty Images.

Heidi Vella is a features writer for

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For the first time in my life I have a sworn enemy – and I don’t even know her name

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

Last month, I made an enemy. I do not say this lightly, and I certainly don’t say it with pride, as a more aggressive male might. Throughout my life I have avoided confrontation with a scrupulousness that an unkind observer would call out-and-out cowardice. A waiter could bring the wrong order, cold and crawling with maggots, and in response to “How is everything?” I’d still manage a grin and a “lovely, thanks”.

On the Underground, I’m so wary of being a bad citizen that I often give up my seat to people who aren’t pregnant, aren’t significantly older than me, and in some cases are far better equipped to stand than I am. If there’s one thing I am not, it’s any sort of provocateur. And yet now this: a feud.

And I don’t even know my enemy’s name.

She was on a bike when I accidentally entered her life. I was pushing a buggy and I wandered – rashly, in her view – into her path. There’s little doubt that I was to blame: walking on the road while in charge of a minor is not something encouraged by the Highway Code. In my defence, it was a quiet, suburban street; the cyclist was the only vehicle of any kind; and I was half a street’s length away from physically colliding with her. It was the misjudgment of a sleep-deprived parent rather than an act of malice.

The cyclist, though, was enraged. “THAT’S CLEVER, ISN’T IT?” she yelled. “WALKING IN THE ROAD!”

I was stung by what someone on The Apprentice might refer to as her negative feedback, and walked on with a redoubled sense of the parental inadequacy that is my default state even at the best of times.

A sad little incident, but a one-off, you would think. Only a week later, though, I was walking in a different part of town, this time without the toddler and engrossed in my phone. Again, I accept my culpability in crossing the road without paying due attention; again, I have to point out that it was only a “close shave” in the sense that meteorites are sometimes reported to have “narrowly missed crashing into the Earth” by 50,000 miles. It might have merited, at worst, a reproving ting of the bell. Instead came a familiar voice. “IT’S YOU AGAIN!” she yelled, wrathfully.

This time the shock brought a retort out of me, probably the harshest thing I have ever shouted at a stranger: “WHY ARE YOU SO UNPLEASANT?”

None of this is X-rated stuff, but it adds up to what I can only call a vendetta – something I never expected to pick up on the way to Waitrose. So I am writing this, as much as anything, in the spirit of rapprochement. I really believe that our third meeting, whenever it comes, can be a much happier affair. People can change. Who knows: maybe I’ll even be walking on the pavement

Mark Watson is a stand-up comedian and novelist. His most recent book, Crap at the Environment, follows his own efforts to halve his carbon footprint over one year.

This article first appeared in the 20 October 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brothers in blood