Bank of China said Thursday its first-half net profit rose 7.58 percent on the back of healthy net interest margins and despite \"increased operational pressures\" due to weakness in the global economy. The majority state-owned bank said net profit for the six months ended June 30 was 71.6 billion yuan (US$11.3 billion) compared to 66.56 billion yuan a year earlier. \"In the first half of 2012, the global economic recovery slowed and uncertainty increased,\" the bank said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange, where its shares are listed. \"The Chinese government continued to pursue stable improvement\" and \"increased its emphasis on maintaining growth,\" it added, referring to looser reserve ratio rules and two cuts to benchmark interest rates. Bank of China said the European debt crisis, the slow US recovery and falling growth in its domestic market had hurt its bottom line. \"The Chinese government will continue to be guided by the principle of stable progress in its policies and initiatives as it places even greater emphasis on stable growth,\" it said. \"It will also continue to strengthen and enhance its macro-economic policies and adjustments as well as implement proactive fiscal policies and stable monetary policies.\" Net interest income rose 13 percent to 124.05 billion yuan, while non-interest income from credit cards, wealth-management product sales and international trade-related settlement and clearing fell 0.3 percent to 55.61 billion yuan. The profit result was slightly below analysts\' expectations, according to Dow Jones Newswires.