China banking giant ICBC reports flat the first half profit

GMT 11:43 2015 Thursday ,27 August

Arab Today, arab today China banking giant ICBC reports flat the first half profit

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
Shanghai - AFP

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the country's biggest bank, on Thursday reported a less than one percent year-on-year rise in net profit for the first half, affected by the slowing economy.

Net profit was 149.02 billion yuan ($23.28 billion) for the six months ended June 30, up from 148.10 billion yuan from the same period a year ago, according to a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

"In the first half of 2015, the bank proactively adapted to the economic 'new normal' amidst a complicated macroeconomic environment," said ICBC, one of China's "Big Four" state-owned banks, adding profit was "relatively stable" for the period.

China's leaders have dubbed the shift to more sustainable, but slower, economic growth as the "new normal".

China's economy grew 7.0 percent in each of the first two quarters, slowing from a 7.4 percent expansion last year, which was its weakest since 1990.

ICBC eked out a five percent gain in net profit to 275.81 billion yuan last year, previous figures showed.

The bank's non-performing loan (NPL) ratio rose to 1.40 percent by the end of June, up from 1.13 percent at the end of last year, but ICBC described the level as acceptable.

"In spite of an increase from the end of 2014, the Bank's NPL ratio still remained at a relatively healthy level in the first half of 2015 compared to peers in China and abroad," the statement said.

Ahead of the results announcement, ICBC closed up 4.69 percent in Shanghai and gained 2.61 percent in Hong Kong amid broader market rallies.

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