Singapore's OCBC, UOB Q4 profit up, cautious on oil and gas sector

UOB reports record earnings of S$3.39b for 2017

OCBC's Q4 profit surges by 31% to $1.03b

Singapore's Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd and United Overseas Bank Ltd reported strong quarterly net profit growth on Wednesday, driven by a rise in net interest income, and downgraded their exposure to the weak offshore support services sector.

Singapore's second-largest bank last year had a profit of S$4.15 billion, up from S$3.47 billion a year earlier.

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For the fourth quarter of 2017, UOB registered net earnings of S$855 million, 16 per cent higher than the fourth quarter of 2016 largely due to increase in net interest income, fee and commission income and net trading income, the bank said in a press release.

The bank's net interest income increased by 14% to $1.42b, which is pushed by 11% increase in average interest earning assets and a four basis points increase in net interest margin (NIM) to 1.67%.

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Net interest margin is a measure of bank profitability, and the wider it is, the more profit a bank makes. The Singaporean lender still faces stress from oil and gas loans.

Like larger rival DBS, OCBC took a series of provisions against bad loans in the third quarter.

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He added: "Coupled with our steady earnings growth momentum, we are able to reward our shareholders with an increase in core dividend to 80 cents per ordinary share, and a special dividend of 20 cents for 2017".

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