Chinese banks report better asset quality in Q3

Updated 2017-11-02 00:31:57 Xinhua

Chinese banks have reported better asset quality in Q3.

Most listed banks reduced their bad loan ratio, while many also saw a rise in provision coverage ratio, funds set aside to cover bad loans, according to quarterly reports.

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC), one of the country's largest, saw its outstanding bad loans down 21 billion yuan (about 3.2 billion U.S. dollars) from the end of last year, while its bad loan ratio fell 0.4 percentage points.

ABC's provision coverage ratio stood at 194.3 percent by the end of September, 20.9 percentage points higher than the end of 2016.

China Merchants Bank's bad loan balance dropped 897 million yuan, while the bad loan ratio declined by 0.21 percentage points. Provision coverage ratio was up 55 percentage points to 235 percent.

The banks attributed the improved asset quality to a stabilizing economy, better credit structure, and disposal of non-performing assets.

"While the bad loan ratio of large banks has stabilized, the trend is not so obvious with some small and medium-sized banks. But overall the risks of the listed banks are controllable," said Dong Ximiao with Renmin University of China Chongyang institute for financial studies.

The government has stepped up efforts this year to correct irregularities in the financial sector, targeting high-risk activities such as off-balance sheet financing.

Despite the tighter regulation, major banks reported solid Q3 earnings. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), China's largest lender by market value, said its net profits increased to 75 billion yuan in Q3, up 3.4 percent from a year ago.

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