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SYDNEY: Australia's Commonwealth Bank reported an almost 20 percent rise in full-year profits on Wednesday, citing the country's economic rebound after earlier pandemic lockdowns for the turnaround.

The country's largest lender said after-tax cash profits soared Aus$8.65 billion (US$6.35 billion) in the 12 months to June 30, as it cut provisions for loan losses after Australia's economy recovered from a pandemic-induced recession.

The bank said it would embark on an Aus$6 billion share buyback and increased its final shareholder dividend to Aus$2.00 a share.

That was more than double the Aus$0.98 paid out in the same period last financial year, when profits fell due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

But the latest result did not reflect a prolonged lockdown of Australia's biggest city, Sydney, which is expected to last more than two months and estimated to cost the economy billions of dollars.

Economists have predicted the country is likely to record at least one quarter of negative growth.

CBA chief executive Matt Comyn said the bank anticipated "ongoing economic impacts" as well as pressure on earnings from lower interest rates.

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