By Jason Theodorou

HSBC has reported pre-tax profits of $11.1 billion (£7 billion) for the first six months of 2010, leading an increase in bank shares after profits more than doubled due to a decline in bad debts. Shares rose by 29.8p or 4.6%, to 676p. The bank said that it had shown profit in every region, with the exception of North America where it saw losses of $80 million.

The UK's major banks including Lloyds, Barclays and RBS are expected to report their results later in the week. Royal Bank of Scotland gained 2.1p, or 4.2% to 52p, while Lloyds Bank Group added 2.8p, or 4.1%, to 72.1p. Both banks are expected to announce that they have returned to profit after a bail-out in 2008 funded by taxpayers.

HSBC survived the financial crisis without receiving direct support from the government. The bank's chief executive, Micahel Geoghegan, said that HSBC had seen business customers increase their demand for credit over the first half of 2010.

The bank has increased lending globally by 4% - compared
with the second half of 2009 - but has not yet released a figure for lending within the UK. Bank analysts welcomed the results, but some argued that recovery in US business would depend on continued recovery in the US house market.

HSBC said in a statement: 'Despite increasing economic uncertainty towards the end of the period, we saw appetite for credit grow steadily, especially among our business customers. This is now feeding through into lending growth, a trend we expect to continue'.

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