Standard Bank, photo: via Flickr

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 19 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Standard Bank SBKJ.J said on Friday its interim profit rose 30%, around the mid range of its estimate, as it benefited from a rebound in post-pandemic banking activities.

The continent’s biggest lender by assets reported headline earnings per share – the main corporate profit measure in South Africa – of 936.2 cents ($0.5539) for the six months ended June 30, up from 721.4 cents per share a year earlier.

South African lenders have bounced back from COVID-19 but are treading a fine line between high local unemployment, worsened by surging inflation, and higher interest rates that are positive for banks, but raise the risk of loans going sour.

Higher interest rates are expected to negatively affect confidence, demand and constrain GDP growth, the bank said in a statement, adding its revenue growth for the full year was expected to be slower than the first half.

It earned revenue of 71.91 billion rand for the first half, up 30% from the same period last year, and announced an interim dividend of 515 cents per share.

($1 = 16.9011 rand)

(Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; Editing by Edmund Blair and Mark Potter)