November 1, 2018 / 12:10 AM / 20 days ago

UPDATE 2-Singapore's OCBC posts record Q3 profit on higher net interest income

* Net profit of S$1.25 bln vs S$1.15 bln mkt estimate

* Net interest margin expands 6 basis points

* OCBC shares rise more than 3 pct

* Singapore banks’ outlook weighed by trade tensions (Adds share movement, details on other banks’ results)

SINGAPORE, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Singapore’s Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd reported a 12 percent rise in quarterly profit to a record on Thursday, supported by robust growth in net interest income and a decline in allowances for bad debts.

Growing worries about the impact of an intensifying trade row between China and the United States on Singapore’s export-reliant economy and curbs on Singapore’s property market have muddied the outlook for banks after they reported record profits last year.

“As we remain alert to developments in the global economy and financial markets, our strong liquidity and capital base will position us well for prudent and sustainable growth,” OCBC CEO Samuel Tsien said in a statement.

Singapore’s second-biggest listed lender said net profit came in at S$1.25 billion ($902.3 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30 versus S$1.11 billion a year ago.

This was slightly higher than the average estimate of S$1.15 billion from three analysts, according to data from Refinitiv.

The bank’s net interest margin (NIM) rose 6 basis points to 1.72 percent, helping push net interest income to S$1.51 billion in the quarter, up 9 percent from a year ago. The increase in NIM was driven by improved margins in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China, and a higher average loans-to-deposits ratio.

Wealth management income rose 6 percent.

Total allowances for loans and other assets in the third quarter was S$49 million, lower than the year-ago’s S$156 million, which was mainly related to corporate accounts in the oil and gas support vessels and services sector.

OCBC shares rose more than 3 percent in early trade to touch S$11.11, their highest level in three weeks.

Singapore’s smallest-listed lender, United Overseas Bank Ltd , posted a 17 percent jump in third-quarter profit last week.

DBS Group Holdings Ltd, Southeast Asia’s biggest lender, will report its results next week.

$1 = 1.3853 Singapore dollars Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Anshuman Daga; Editing by Stephen Coates

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