ANZ's 11% profit lift

Lender says it remains on track with regional strategy, performance in year so far generally in line with expectations.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) said it is making progress on its regional strategy and its performance remains generally in line with expectations, after unveiling a slight bump in cash profit in the year-to-date.

In the nine months to June 30, ANZ said it made a cash profit of $4.7 billion, an 11% lift on the previous corresponding period.

Statutory profit in the same period was $4.7 billion, a 7% lift on the same nine-month period last year.

In a trading update to the market, ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith said the lender continued to make steady progress with its super regional strategy and had produced consistent revenue growth with diversification benefits from its exposure to growth markets in Australia and in Asia (see Ian Verrender's Five reasons to hang onto the banks).

"Overall, ANZ’s performance remains in line with the expectations we had at the end of 2012, with full-year revenue growth slower than last year and ongoing productivity improvements providing positive revenue-cost jaws," Mr Smith said.

At the same time, he said the lender was continuing to actively manage efficiency across the business with a focus on improving productivity and capital utilisation.

"This is allowing us to continue to invest in our growth strategy for the longer term while also improving shareholder returns in the near term," he said.

Smith confident of Aust, Asian outlook

Mr Smith said although the economic outlook in Australia had softened somewhat, there was still cause for greater optimism in the medium term as the effect of lower interest rates, a more competitive currency and the removal of some pre-election uncertainty underpin consumer confidence and economic activity.

But he said concerns about growth in China has been overplayed.

"Although there is a rebalancing taking place in China and there may be volatility associated with this, we need to remember that the world’s second largest economy is still growing at around 7% to 7.5%," Mr Smith said. 

Mr Smith noted the biggest change in the macro environment compared to the first half was a 5% decline in the average Australian to US dollar rate. 

"While this is positive for the business, it impacts a range of operating ratios and metrics in different ways," he said.