CHINA’S big four state-owned banks yesterday reported profit growth across the board in the third quarter.
Net income at the four lenders — the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank, and Agricultural Bank of China — all grew in the low single digits for July-September year on year, according to filings with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
ICBC, the world’s largest bank by assets, reported a net profit of 75 billion yuan (US$11.3 billion) for the third quarter, up 3.35 percent anually.
Quarterly results for BOC were hurt by impairment charges and it reported the lowest net profit growth of the four, up just 0.10 percent year on year to 41.82 billion yuan
Net earnings for CCB climbed to 62.9 billion yuan for the quarter, up 4.1 percent annually.
AgBank’s net profit rose 4.89 percent year on year to 51.42 billion yuan.
Lending income at CCB, BOC and ICBC all grew more than 10 percent for July-September compared to the same period last year. BOC led the pack, with growth in lending income for the three months up 15 percent.
“This quarter represents the banks’ efforts to boost results to complete full-year targets,” Hao Hong, chief strategist and head of research at Bocom International Holdings Co in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News. “Banks are loosening credit despite all the talk about deleveraging.”
BOC was the only one of the big four banks to see its non-performing loan ratio tick upwards for the quarter, rising to 1.41 percent at the end of September, from 1.38 percent at the end of June.
The ratio is a focus for analysts worried about the rapid rise of debt in the Chinese economy.
AgBank has the highest non-performing loan ratio of the four banks, standing at 1.97 percent at the end of the third quarter, down 0.4 percentage points compared to the end of 2016.
AgBank, ICBC and BOC published their earning reports yesterday, while CCB released its results last week.