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Bad-debts blow for DBS bank

SOUTHEAST Asia's largest bank, DBS Group Holdings Ltd, suffered a 28-percent drop in first-quarter profit as bad debt charges tripled.

Singapore-based DBS reported earnings of S$433 million (US$295 million) for the three months ended March 31, down from profit of S$603 million a year earlier.

The bank said it took charges for problem loans and other losses of S$414 million for the quarter, up from S$140 million a year earlier. Quarterly revenue rose 6 percent to S$1.66 billion on higher income from trading fees.

"Given continuing uncertainties over how protracted the downturn will be, we remain vigilant in managing our balance sheet," Chairman Koh Boon Hwee said.

Singapore's economy will likely shrink 10 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund said this week.


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