Britain's Barclays said a worsening global economic outlook means it may be hard to meet its profit targets, despite reporting better than expected results at its under-pressure investment bank in the third quarter. 

The bank said it is on track to meet its 9% return on equity goal for 2019, but that the economic environment means achieving its targets next year will be harder.

"We acknowledge that the outlook for next year is unquestionably more challenging now than it appeared a year ago, in particular given the uncertainty around the UK economy and the interest rate environment," chief executive Jes Staley said. 

Barclays reported profit before tax of £1.8 billion for the three months from July to September, though that figure excluded a previously announced provision against insurance mis-selling. 

Analysts had forecast the profit excluding such charges would be around £1.5 billion. 

The lender also said it had agreed with regulators to account its risk weighted assets more in line with British peers, resulting in an increase in its target core capital ratio to 13.5%. 

The figure stood at 13.4% at the end of the quarter, below the target, but Barclays stuck with its earlier dividend guidance despite being under its new core capital target. 

That reflects its confidence it can continue to grow income enough to support the payouts, something which some analysts of the bank are more sceptical of. 

Barclays CEO Jes Staley will point to the strong trading performance as vindication of his strategy, as the lender tries to take on Wall Street at a time when European peers are scaling back their investment banks.

Profits were dented by a £1.4 billion provision to compensate customers mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) on loans and credit cards, in the middle of the £1.2-1.6 billion range the bank had earlier forecast. 

UK banks were stung by a late surge in PPI queries ahead of an August claims deadline, sending the industry's final compensation bill above £43 billion. 

Royal Bank of Scotland yesterday swung to a third quarter loss thanks to a £900m PPI charge and a weak investment banking performance.