August 17, 2017 / 8:05 AM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Standard Bank lifts first-half profit by 11 percent

* H1 headline earnings per share 746.4 cents

* Cost-to-income ratio falls to 56.3 percent

* Shares up 0.9 percent (Adds shares, details)

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Standard Bank, Africa’s No.2 lender by market value, reported an 11 percent rise in half-year profit on Thursday, as a rebound in commodity prices boosted demand for loans from clients in the oil and mining industry.

Headline earnings per share (EPS) totalled 746.4 cents in the six months to June compared with 671.2 cents a year earlier, South Africa-based Standard Bank said.

Headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa, strips out certain one-off, non-trading items.

Shares in the company rose a much as 2.5 percent shortly after the market opened, before paring gains to trade 0.9 percent higher at 165.55 rand, outpacing a slightly higher JSE Top-40 index.

Facing a downturn in the South African economy, which slipped into recession in the first quarter, Standard Bank is keeping a lid on costs and is scaling back lucrative but risky unsecured consumer loans.

The lender said its cost-to-income ratio, or the difference between running expenses and income, fell to 56.3 percent from 56.8 percent. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Edmund Blair and David Holmes)

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