The banking giant saw pre-tax profits drop 51 per cent from £6.1bn for the first six months of 2008. The fall comes after its bad debt charges soared 39 per cent to $13.9 billion (£8.3 billion).
Total operating income also dipped 6 per cent from £25.5bn January to June last year to £23.9bn for the same period this year.
HSBC group chairman Stephen Green says: “In the first half of 2009, we have delivered what we set out to achieve. We have continued to position HSBC’s balance sheet conservatively, while focusing on enhancing the capabilities which will enable us to deliver sustainable long-term growth once the current global downturn has ended.
“We are pleased with our results and profitability overall is ahead of the expectations we had at the outset of this year.”
“The timing, shape and scale of any recovery in the wider economy remains highly uncertain. Our view continues to be cautious as long as a number of serious impediments to growth remain.”
Shares in HSBC rose by 2.79 per cent to 623p in early trades this morning.