The international bank made a total of $990m in the first half of 2008, up from $606m in the first half of 2007.

The UAE is the fastest growing country for the bank. It reported profit growth of 77 per cent in the emirates in the first half of 2008, to $522m.

In Saudi Arabia the bank made a profit of $175m from its joint venture with Sabb, up from $111m in 2007. In Egypt profits grew by 60 per cent to $72m.

The bank made more profit from its regional operations in the first half of 2008 than many local rivals did in the whole of 2007. Only five regional banks made more than $1bn in profit in 2007.

The figures contrast with the HSBC group, which reported a 29 per cent decline in first-half profit.