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China's major banks see slowing profit growth, falling bad loan rates in Q1

CHINA'S major banks saw slowing profit growth in the first quarter, though bad loan rates fell.

Financial statements from China's five major banks, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), Bank of China, Bank of Communications, Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) and China Construction Bank, showed slowing profit growth in Q1, with the first three banks seeing net profits plunge by over 70 percent compared with the previous quarter.

China's largest bank by capitalization ICBC raked in net profit of 76 billion yuan (US$11.03 billion) in the Jan.-March period, up 1.5 percent year on year.

Despite falling profit growth, they managed to keep bad loan rates from rising, with ABC's bad loan rate edging down 0.04 percent and ICBC down 0.03 percent compared with the previous quarter.

Analysts attributed the slowing profit growth to economic slowdown, and believe the country's debt-for-equity swap policies and enhanced government regulation helped improve their bad loan management performance.

China released a detailed plan last October, allowing banks to exchange bad debt for stocks in companies concerned, which will help free up bank balance sheets.


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