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ANZ boss acknowledges 'tougher' environment

ANZ has delivered an unaudited cash profit of $1.79 billion for the three months to 31 December 2014.

The bank noted a solid start to 2015, with its customer franchises in Australia, New Zealand and Asia continuing to perform strongly. However, group chief executive Mike Smith said the first quarter had been challenging.

“As we anticipated, 2015 is proving to be a slightly tougher, more volatile environment,” Mr Smith said.

“We have seen some tailwinds associated with the lower Australian dollar in the first quarter; however, these have been partially offset as a result of global economic conditions, including lower commodity prices,” he said.

“Market conditions have also created a challenging environment for the global markets business although we expect this to improve throughout the year."

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Mr Smith said that overall, ANZ is performing broadly in line with expectations and its ‘super regional strategy’ continues to provide the bank with growth options.

“[It] will also ensure our cloth is cut to suit the conditions,” he said.

“Looking at our businesses, Australian retail and commercial have delivered another excellent performance, with further market share gains in home lending and growth in small business lending, although the corporate sector remains subdued.”

ANZ’s group net interest margin fell 6 basis points compared with the end of the second half FY14, 2 basis points of which related to foreign exchange translation impacts, according to a trading update.

The bank said the remainder was largely attributable to global markets and the impact of higher liquidity requirements.

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