South Africa’s major banking groups reported solid results for the first half of the year, according to PwC Africa.

PwC published its analysis on the results of the six months to end-June 2016 for the following banks: Barclays Africa Group Limited [JSE:BGA], FirstRand [JSE:FSR], Nedbank [JSE:NED] and Standard Bank [JSE:SBK] on Wednesday.

“It is exceptional that our banks have been able to increase operating income by what they have in the last six months,” said Johannes Grosskopf, financial services industry leader for PwC Africa. “Banks are finding it difficult to navigate in the current macroeconomic environment. What we see happening in the macro-economic environment comes through in results.”

The banks posted combined headline earnings of R34.6bn – up 5.7% compared to the same period in 2015. Total operating income lifted 13.3% and operating expenses rose 12.6%.

“Banks are doing exceptionally well in terms of delivering shareholder value. They still deliver value to shareholders,” said Grosskopf. This is measured by the economic spread between the return on equity (ROE) and the cost of equity.