Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered beat expectations with a 30 percent rise in half-year underlying profit on Tuesday, although the bank said its costs grew faster than income.

Standard Chartered, which makes three-quarters of its profits in Asia, said pretax profit in the six months to the end of June was $1.98 billion, up from $1.53 billion a year before and ahead of the average forecast of $1.85 billion from a Reuters Estimates poll of six analysts.

It said underlying expenses rose 23 percent in the first half, faster than underlying revenue growth of 21 percent. The bank had already said costs were likely to rise faster than income in the first half and cost and income growth would be balanced for the full year.

London shares in the bank extended gains after the forecast-beating earnings, trading up 2.1 percent by 4:44 a.m. EDT.

Standard Chartered said it would continue to invest in order to boost growth, despite turbulence in global credit markets.

In our markets, economic growth is strong, liquidity remains abundant, demand for financial services is growing extremely rapidly, Chief Executive Peter Sands said. The window of opportunity is now and we are determined to seize it.

It saw income momentum from both wholesale and consumer banking, and said the impairment charge for the full year reflected improvements in Taiwan bad debts.

The bank said its Korean business posted a disappointing first-half performance, though it was making good progress.

We still have work to do to realize the full potential of SC First Bank and I am confident it will be a powerful engine of sustainable profit growth for the group, Sands said.