SINGAPORE: HSBC Holdings PLC reported a 15% drop in first-half profit as expected credit losses more than offset the impact from rising net interest income at Europe's biggest bank.

The London-headquartered lender reported on Monday a pretax profit of $9.2 billion for the six months ending June 30, down from $10.84 billion a year ago.

The bank said it would pay an interim dividend of 9 cents per share but said share buybacks remain unlikely this year.

In a sign of growing confidence in its ability to improve profitability, HSBC raised its near-term return on tangible equity goal to at least 12% from 2023 onwards. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Lawrence White; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)