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South African News and Market Update: FirstRand expects half-year profit

South African lender FirstRand said on Tuesday that its profits are expected to rise by more than 30% in the six months to December 31. The company cited higher retail loan growth and falling loan impairment charges as reasons. The bank said earnings per share, the key profit metric in South Africa, will be at least 258.6 cents in the period, up from 198.9 cents a year earlier. A more detailed explanation on the increase will follow, it said, adding that the bank continues to provision conservatively due to uncertainty. Read more.