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Major lenders beat expectations with strong jump in earnings

By Gao Changxin in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2013-04-26 11:01

Chinese lenders remained robust in the first quarter despite forecasts that profit growth will slow this year in the face of narrowing net interest margins.

The favorable results benefited partly from a rebound in the property market and stable growth in consumer loans, according to analysts.

Bank of Communications Ltd, one of the "Big Five" banks, beat market expectations on Thursday by reporting 12 percent profit growth in the first quarter.

The bank earned 17.71 billion yuan ($2.87 billion) in the three months ending March 31, around 8 percent higher than the 16.33 billion yuan forecast by five analysts polled by Thomson Analytics.

Bank of China Ltd, another "Big Five" lender, said on Thursday that its first-quarter earnings rose 8.2 percent, thanks mainly to increases in net interest income.

Earlier this week, China Minsheng Bank Corp, the country's seventh-largest listed bank by market capitalization, posted a 20 percent jump in earnings, raking in 11 billion yuan in the three month ending March 31.

Industrial Bank Co earned 11 billion yuan in the first quarter, a year-on-year rise of 32.44 percent.

However, analysts remain cautious despite the impressive results, saying they do not reflect the sector's average profitability.

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