Top China bank ICBC posts 4.1 per cent profit rise - GulfToday

Top China bank ICBC posts a profit rise of 4.1 per cent


People walk past a branch of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) in Beijing. Reuters. / File Photo

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world’s biggest commercial lender by assets, posted a 4.1 per cent rise in profit for the three months ended March, its fastest growth for the period since 2014.

Profit was 82.01 billion yuan ($12.18 billion) for the first quarter, compared with 78.80 billion yuan in the same period a year earlier, the bank said in a filing on Monday.

That compared with an average projection for a 4.3 per cent growth, two brokerage estimates compiled by Reuters show.

The results from China’s biggest commercial lender indicate early signs of profit and asset-quality recovery amid optimism the world’s No.2 economy may be starting to stabilise after Beijing ramped up fiscal stimulus this year.

ICBC’s non-performing loan (NPL) ratio was 1.51 per cent at end-March, versus 1.52 per cent at the end of December.

Total bad loans at the bank was 240.28 billion yuan at end-March, compared with 235.08 billion yuan at end-2018.

Its net interest margin (NIM) - the difference between interest paid and earned and a key gauge for profitability — was 2.31 per cent at end-March, versus 2.30 per cent at end-2018.

ICBC’s mainland shares rose 1.58 per cent ahead of the announcement. They have gained nearly 12 per cent in 2019, lagging an around 31 per cent year-to-date rise of the blue-chip CSI300 index, giving the bank a market value of 2 trillion yuan, Refinitiv data showed.

Meanwhile the China’s yuan eased against the US dollar in thin trade on Monday while the market was quiet before the latest round of Sino-US trade negotiations and the release of April economic indicators.

Month-end corporate demand for the dollar explained the yuan’s marginal weakening, traders said. Prior to market opening on Monday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the midpoint rate at 6.7310 per dollar, 3 pips weaker than the previous fix of 6.7307.

The official midpoint was firmer than expectations for a second straight session, according to several traders. The midpoint was 28 pips firmer than Reuters’ estimate of 6.7338. In the spot market.


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