By Daniel Hunter

Barclays have announced what they call 'encouraging' figures for the opening quarter of 2012.

The bank reported a pre-tax loss of £475 million in the first quarter, compared with a £1.66 billion profit a year ago.

But for a £2.62 billion accounting adjustment and an additional £300 million set aside for settling claims of mis-selling payment protection, the results would have been even better.

“Barclays first quarter results are an encouraging start to the year and demonstrate continued progress across our execution priorities," Bob Diamond, Chief Executive, said.

"We achieved an adjusted return on equity that exceeded 12%, driven by strong results in UK RBB, Barclaycard, and Wealth and Investment Management and improved performances in Corporate and Investment Banking. Our rock solid capital, funding and liquidity positions remain a source of competitive advantage and enabled us to fund a substantial proportion of our 2012 term funding requirements.

"The environment in which we operate remains unpredictable but we have a proven ability to adapt and grow our businesses in the face of external change. We will be proactive and seek to lead the agenda on recovery and resolution planning, which is a critical step to eradicate “too big to fail”, while continuing to remain closely engaged with regulatory agencies and governments. Our strong mix of businesses, emphasis on serving customers and clients, and our focus on execution give me confidence in delivering on our return targets for shareholders.”

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