China’s leading publicly-quoted
banks have posted resilient interim profits for the first half of
2009, with the world’s largest bank by market capitalisation, ICBC,
bucking the global trend with a 1.6 percent rise in pre-tax profit
to CNY84.8 billion ($3 billion).
The three other leading financial institutions
to have reported interim figures – China Construction Bank (CCB),
Bank of China (BoC) and Bank of Communications (BoComm) – posted
healthy interim pre-tax profits of CNY72.5 billion, CNY56.2 billion
and CNY19.9 billion respectively, though all three figures
represented annualised falls of between 2 and 5 percent.
Headline figures within the banks’ personal
banking divisions were mixed, however. While CCB saw pre-tax
profits rise to CNY13.1 billion on the back of improved net
interest income and net fee and commission income, BoC’s personal
banking unit saw pre-tax profit fall by 5.3 percent to CNY12.1
ICBC reported a pre-tax profit of CNY20.8
billion within its personal banking division, down 36 percent,
largely due to a sharp rise in external net interest expense.
Nonetheless, effective deposit-gathering
efforts and a highly publicised government-directed lending
programme resulted in assets and liabilities at all four banks
rising sharply over the year to 30 June 2009.
Retail lending growth was in the double digits
across the board, from 12.8 percent at ICBC to 19.6 percent at
BoComm, while total retail deposits accelerated even faster, up by
27.8 percent at ICBC, 28.4 percent at BoC, 33.7 percent at CCB and
34.3 percent at BoComm.