Macquarie set for best profit since 2008 as commodities focus pays off

* Expects FY15 net profit to rise 10-20 pct * Analysts believe FICC business likely outperformed * Lower AUD, better trading conditions help (Recasts top, adds analyst comment and updates shares) By Swati Pandey SYDNEY, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia‘s largest investment bank, forecast an up to 20 percent jump in annual profit, with its commodities trading and foreign exchange businesses boosted by investors hedging against swings in asset prices. Macquarie’s likely best annual profit since the 2008 global financial crisis vindicates its deep push into physical commodities markets at a time when the likes of JPMorgan and Deutsche have scaled back as restrictions on commodities trading grow in western markets. Under chief executive Nicholas Moore, commodities business has become an increasingly important part of the bank as it diversifies from traditional investment banking. Macquarie has grown its commodities trading through a handful of small-sized U.S. acquisitions and has said it is on the lookout for more. Unlike Macquarie, retail banks such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia and National Australia Bank are focused on commercial and mortgage lending. Macquarie said on Monday it now expects net profit for the year ending March to rise by 10 percent … continue reading

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