ICBC beats 2017 profit expectations

Nation’s largest bank by assets delivers net profit of US$45.6 billion, a 2.8 per cent gain on 2016

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 6:55pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2018, 6:54pm

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country’s largest lender by assets, has reported better-than-expected annual profit growth for 2017, reflecting early signs of improved profit levels by all the major banks after strenuous efforts to slash national debt.

Beijing-based ICBC’s net profit grew to 286.05 billion yuan (US$45.6 billion) in 2017, up 2.8 per cent on a year ago, it said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange on Tuesday. The result beats a projection of 2.5 per cent in net profit rise from analysts from BOC International.

Its non-performing loan ratio also dropped to 1.55 per cent as the end of December 31 from 1.62 per cent at the end of last year, reflecting improved asset quality.

Its net interest margin – the difference between the interest rate a bank earns on loans and what it pays out in short-term borrowing costs as a proportion of its assets, seen as an accurate gauge of bank profitability – increased to 2.22 per cent as the end of 2017, up from 2.16 a year earlier.

The bank said it has shored up its deposits by 7.9 per cent last year – the fastest pace in the entire banking sector.