Global banking giant HSBC Holdings has seen a 13% rise in half-year profits to $14.15 billion despite suffering from rising debts in relation to the US housing market slump.

The bank saw revenues for the period reach $5.2 billion, representing a 16% surge, against cost growth of $2.5 billion, or 15%, contributing to an improved cost-efficiency ratio of 49.7%.

The group attributed the positive results to strong performances across Asia, in particular in Hong Kong with a 25% profit growth, and its investment banking unit, which offset the impact of higher consumer finance impairment charges in the US and a challenging environment for its personal business in Europe.

The BBC reported that profits at HSBC’s US business dropped 43% compared to the same corresponding period a year ago, which reflects the increased number of homeowners unable to meet their mortgage payments. However, alterations to the bank’s sub-prime underwriting business helped overall US profits improve over H2 2006, the BBC revealed.

Looking forward, HSBC group chairman Stephen Green said: We estimate that global growth this year will be close to last year’s 3.8%. We believe emerging markets will remain particularly strong, stimulating global demand for capital goods, providing an economic boost to Germany, Japan and other major exporters. The weakness in the housing market is likely to hold back US growth for 2007, which may be as low as 2%.